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(Part 1 of 8) 






Aleister Crowley has achieved the reputation of being a master 
of the English language. This book which is as fresh and vibrant 
today as when it was penned over thirty years ago demonstrates this 
fact. It shows how impossible it is to categorize him as a particu- 
lar kind of stylist. At turns he can be satirical, poetical, sarcas- 
tic, rhetorical, philosophical or mystical, gliding so easily from 
one to the other that the average reader is hard put to determine 
whether or not to take him at face value. 

His description of mystical states of consciousness clarifies 
what tomes of more erudite writing fails to elucidate. It is in 
effect a continuation of Part I of Book 4 brought to maturity. 
Nearly three decades had elapsed between the writing of these two 
books, in which time his own inner development had soared ineffably. 
A great deal of what he has to say may seem prosaic at first sight, 
but do not be fooled by this. Other of his comments are profound 
beyond belief, requiring careful and long meditation if full value is 
to be derived from them. 

This is not a book to be read while standing or running. It is 
a high water mark of Crowley's literary career, incorporating all 
that we should expect from one who had experimented with and mastered 
most technical forms of spiritual growth. There is humor here, a 
great deal of sagacity, and much practical advice. This book cannot 
be dispensed with for the student for whom Yoga is 'the way.' 

Israel Regardie 
March 21, 1969 
Studio City, Calif. 



First Lecture. First Principles Part 1 

Second Lecture. Yama Part 2 

Third Lecture. Niyama Part 3 

Fourth Lecture. Asana and Pranayama Part 4 


First Lecture Part 5 

Second Lecture Part 6 

Third Lecture Part 7 

Fourth Lecture Part 8 


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

It is my will to explain the subject of Yoga in clear language, 
without resort to jargon or the enunciation of fantastic hypotheses, 
in order that this great science may be thoroughly understood as of 
universal importance. 

For, like all great things, it is simple; but, like all great 
things, it is masked by confused thinking; and, only too often, 
brought into contempt by the machinations of knavery. 

(1) There is more nonsense talked and written about Yoga than 
about anything else in the world. Most of this nonsense, which is 
fostered by charlatans, is based upon the idea that there is some- 
thing mysterious and Oriental about it. There isn't. Do not look to 
me for obelisks and odalisques, Rahat Loucoum, bul-buls, or any other 
tinsel imagery of the Yoga-mongers. I am neat but not gaudy. There 
is nothing mysterious or Oriental about anything, as everybody knows 
who has spent a little time intelligently in the continents of Asia 
and Africa. I propose to invoke the most remote and elusive of all 
Gods to throw clear light upon the subject - the light of common 


(2) All phenomena of which we are aware take place in our own 
minds, and therefore the only thing we have to look at is the mind; 
which is a more constant quantity over all the species of humanity 
than is generally supposed. What appear to be radical differences, 
irreconcilable by argument, are usually found to be due to the 
obstinacy of habit produced by generations of systematic sectarian 

(3) We must then begin the study of Yoga by looking at the 
meaning of the word. It means Union, from the same Sanskrit root as 
the Greek word Zeugma, the Latin word Jugum, and the English word 
yoke. (Yeug -- to join.) 

When a dancing girl is dedicated to the service of a temple 
there is a Yoga of her relations to celebrate. Yoga, in short, may 
be translated 'tea fight,' which doubtless accounts for the fact that 
all the students of Yoga in England do nothing but gossip over 
endless libations of Lyons' 1s. 2d. 

(4) Yoga means Union. 

In what sense are we to consider this? How is the word Yoga to 
imply a system of religious training or a description of religious 

You may note incidentally that the word Religion is really 
identifiable with Yoga. It means a binding together. 

(5) Yoga means Union. 

What are the elements which are united or to be united when this 
word is used in its common sense of a practice widely spread in 
Hindustan whose object is the emancipation of the individual who 
studies and practises it from the less pleasing features of his life 
on this planet? 

I say Hindustan, but I really mean anywhere on the earth; for 
research has shown that similar methods producing similar results are 
to be found in every country. The details vary, but the general 
structure is the same. Because all bodies, and so all minds, have 
identical Forms. 

(6) Yoga means Union. 

In the mind of a pious person, the inferiority complex which 
accounts for his piety compels him to interpret this emancipation as 
union with the gaseous vertebrate whom he has invented and called 
God. On the cloudy vapour of his fears his imagination has thrown a 
vast distorted shadow of himself, and he is duly terrified; and the 
more he cringes before it, the more the spectre seems to stoop to 
crush him. People with these ideas will never get to anywhere but 
Lunatic Asylums and Churches. 

It is because of this overwhelming miasma of fear that the whole 
subject of Yoga has become obscure. A perfectly simple problem has 
been complicated by the most abject ethical and superstitious non- 
sense. Yet all the time the truth is patent in the word itself. 

(7) Yoga means Union. 

We may now consider what Yoga really is. Let us go for a moment 
into the nature of consciousness with the tail of an eye on such 
sciences as mathematics, biology, and chemistry. 

In mathematics the expression 'a' plus 'b' plus 'c' is a trivi- 
ality. Write 'a' plus 'b' plus 'c' equals 0, and you obtain an 
equation from which the most glorious truths may be developed. 

In biology the cell divides endlessly, but never becomes any- 
thing different; but if we unite cells of opposite qualities, male 
and female, we lay the foundations of a structure whose summit is 
unattainably fixed in the heavens of imagination. 

Similar facts occur in chemistry. The atom by itself has few 
constant qualities, none of them particulary significant; but as soon 
as an element combines with the object of its hunger we get not only 
the ecstatic production of light, heat, and so forth, but a more 
complex structure having few or none of the qualities of its ele- 
ments, but capable of further combination into complexities of 
astonishing sublimity. All these combinations, these unions, are 

(8) Yoga means Union. 

How are we to apply this word to the phenomena of mind? 

What is the first characteristic of everything in thought? How 
did it come to be a thought at all? Only by making a distinction 
between it and the rest of the world. 

The first proposition, the type of all propositions, is: S is P. 
There must be two things - different things - whose relation forms 

Yoga is first of all the union of the subject and the object of 
consciousness: of the seer with the thing seen. 

(9) Now, there is nothing strange of wonderful about all this. 
The study of the principles of Yoga is very useful to the average 
man, if only to make him think about the nature of the world as he 
supposes that he knows it. 

Let us consider a piece of cheese. We say that this has certain 
qualities, shape, structure, colour, solidity, weight, taste, smell, 
consistency and the rest; but investigation has shown that this is 
all illusory. Where are these qualities? Not in the cheese, for 
different observers give quite different accounts of it. Not in 
ourselves, for we do not perceive them in the absence of the cheese. 
All 'material things,' all impressions, are phantoms. 

In reality the cheese is nothing but a series of electric 
charges. Even the most fundamental quality of all, mass, has been 
found not to exist. The same is true of the matter in our brains 
which is partly responsible for these perceptions. What then are 
these qualities of which we are all so sure? They would not exist 
without our brains; they would not exist without the cheese. They 
are the results of the union, that is of the Yoga, of the seer and 
the seen, of subject and object in consciousness as the philosophical 
phrase goes. They have no material existence; they are only names 
given to the ecstatic results of this particular form of Yoga. 

(1 0) I think that nothing can be more helpful to the student of 
Yoga than to get the above proposition firmly established in his 
subconscious mind. About nine-tenths of the trouble in understanding 
the subject is all this ballyhoo about Yoga being mysterious and 
Oriental. The principles of Yoga, and the spiritual results of Yoga, 

are demonstrated in every conscious and unconscious happening. This 
is that which is written in 'The Book of the Law' -- Love is the law, 
love under will -- for Love is the instinct to unite, and the act of 
uniting. But this cannot be done indiscriminately, it must be done 
'under will,' that is, in accordance with the nature of the particu- 
lar units concerned. Hydrogen has no love for Hydrogen; it is not 
the nature, or the 'true Will' of Hydrogen to seek to unite with a 
molecule of its own kind. Add Hydrogen to Hydrogen: nothing happens 
to its quality: it is only its quantity that changes. It rather 
seeks to enlarge its experience of its possibilities by union with 
atoms of opposite character, such as Oxygen; with this it combines 
(with an explosion of light, heat, and sound) to form water. The 
result is entirely different from either of the component elements, 
and has another kind of 'true Will,' such as to unite (with similar 
disengagement of light and heat) with Potassium, while the resulting 
'caustic Potash' has in its turn a totally new series of qualities, 
with still another 'true Will' of its own; that is, to unite 
explosively with acids. And so on. 

(11) It may seem to some of you that these explanations have 
rather knocked the bottom out of Yoga; that I have reduced it to the 
category of common things. That was my object. There is no sense in 
being frightened of Yoga, awed by Yoga, muddled and mystified by 
Yoga, or enthusiastic over Yoga. If we are to make any progress in 

its study, we need clear heads and the impersonal scientific atti- 
tude. It is especially important not to bedevil ourselves with 
Oriental jargon. We may have to use a few Sanskrit words; but that 
is only because they have no English equivalents; and any attempt to 
translate them burdens us with the connotations of the existing 
English words which we employ. However, these words are very few; 
and, if the definitions which I propose to give you are carefully 
studied, they should present no difficulty. 

(1 2) Having now understood that Yoga is the essence of all 
phenomena whatsoever, we may ask what is the special meaning of the 
word in respect of our proposed investigation, since the process and 
the results are familiar to every one of us; so familiar indeed that 

there is actually nothing else at all of which we have any knowledge. 
It *is* knowledge. 

What is it we are going to study, and why should we study it? 

(1 3) The answer is very simple. 

All this Yoga that we know and practice, this Yoga that produced 
these ecstatic results that we call phenomena, includes among its 
spiritual emanations a good deal of unpleasantness. The more we 
study this universe produced by our Yoga, the more we collect and 
synthesize our experience, the nearer we get to a perception of what 
the Buddha declared to be characteristic of all component things: 
Sorrow, Change, and Absence of any permanent principle. We constant- 
ly approach his enunciation of the first two 'Noble Truths,' as he 
called them. 'Everything is Sorrow'; and 'The cause of Sorrow is 
Desire.' By the word 'Desire' he meant exactly what is meant by 
'Love' in 'The Book of the Law' which I quoted a few moments ago. 
'Desire' is the need of every unit to extend its experience by 

combining with its opposite. 

(14) It is easy enough to construct the whole series of argu- 
ments which lead up to the first 'Noble Truth.' 

Every operation of Love is the satisfaction of a bitter hunger, 
but the appetite only grows fiercer by satisfaction; so that we can 
say with the Preacher: 'He that increaseth knowledge increaseth 
Sorrow.' The root of all this sorrow is in the sense of insufficien- 
cy; the need to unite, to lose oneself in the beloved object, is the 
manifest proof of this fact, and it is clear also that the satisfac- 
tion produces only a temporary relief, because the process expands 
indefinitely. The thirst increases with drinking. The only complete 
satisfaction conceivable would be the Yoga of the atom with the 
entire universe. This fact is easily perceived, and has been con- 
stantly expressed in the mystical philosophies of the West; the only 
goal is 'Union with God.' Of course, we only use the word 'God' 
because we have been brought up in superstition, and the higher 
philosophers both in the East and in the West have preferred to speak 
of union with the All or with the Absolute. More superstitions! 

(1 5) Very well, then, there is no difficulty at all; since 

every thought in our being, every cell in our bodies, every electron 
and proton of our atoms, is nothing but Yoga and the result of Yoga. 
All we have to do to obtain emancipation, satisfaction, everything we 
want is to perform this universal and inevitable operation upon the 
Absolute itself. Some of the more sophisticated members of my 
audience may possibly be thinking that there is a catch in it 
somewhere. They are perfectly right. 

(16) The snag is simply this. Every element of which we are 
composed is indeed constantly occupied in the satisfaction of its 
particular needs by its own particular Yoga; but for that very reason 
it is completely obsessed by its own function, which it must natural- 
ly consider as the Be-AII and End-All of its existence. For in- 
stance, if you take a glass tube open at both ends and put it over a 
bee on the windowpane it will continue beating against the window to 
the point of exhaustion and death, instead of escaping through the 
tube. We must not confuse the necessary automatic functioning of any 
of our elements with the true Will which is the proper orbit of any 

star. A human being only acts as a unit at all because of countless 
generations of training. Evolutionary processes have set up a higher 
order of Yogic action by which we have managed to subordinate what we 
consider particular interests to what we consider the general wel- 
fare. We are communities; and our well-being depends upon the wisdom 
of our Councils, and the discipline with which their decisions are 
enforced. The more complicated we are, the higher we are in the 
scale of evolution, the more complex and difficult is the task of 
legislation and of maintaining order. 

(17) In highly civilised communities like our own (*loud 
laughter*), the individual is constantly being attacked by conflict- 
ing interests and necessities; his individuality is constantly being 
assailed by the impact of other people; and in a very large number of 
cases he is unable to stand up to the strain. 'Schizophrenia,' which 
is a lovely word, and may or may not be found in your dictionary, is 

an exceedingly common complaint. It means the splitting up of the 
mind. In extreme cases we get the phenomena of multiple personality, 
Jekyll and Hyde, only more so. At the best, when a man says T he 
refers only to a transitory phenomenon. His T changes as he utters 
the word. But -- philosophy apart -- it is rarer and rarer to find a 
man with a mind of his own and a will of his own, even in this 
modified sense. 

(18) I want you therefore to see the nature of the obstacles to 
union with the Absolute. For one thing, the Yoga which we constantly 
practice has not invariable results; there is a question of atten- 
tion, of investigation, of reflexion. I propose to deal in a future 
instruction with the modifications of our perception thus caused, for 
they are of great importance to our science of Yoga. For example, 
the classical case of the two men lost in a thick wood at night. One 
says to the other: That dog barking is not a grasshopper; it is the 
creaking of a cart.' Or again, 'He thought he saw a banker's clerk 
descending from a bus. He looked again, and saw it was a 

Everyone who has done any scientific investigation knows pain- 
fully how every observation must be corrected again and again. The 
need of Yoga is so bitter that it blinds us. We are constantly 
tempted to see and hear what we want to see and hear. 

(1 9) It is therefore incumbent upon us, if we wish to make the 
universal and final Yoga with the Absolute, to master every element 
of our being, to protect it against all civil and external war, to 
intensify every faculty to the utmost, to train outselves in know- 
ledge and power to the utmost; so that at the proper moment we may be 
in perfect condition to fling ourselves up into the furnace of 

ecstasy which flames from the abyss of annihilation. 

Love is the law, love under will. 

(Part 2 of 8) 


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Stars and 
placental amniotes! And ye inhabitants of the ten thousand worlds! 

The conclusion of our researches last week was that the ultimate 
Yoga which gives emancipation, which destroys the sense of separate- 
ness which is the root of Desire, is to be made by the concentration 
of every element of one's being, and annihilating it by intimate 
combustion with the universe itself. 

I might here note, in parenthesis, that one of the difficulties 
of doing this is that all the elements of the Yogi increase in every 

way exactly as he progresses, and by reason of that progress. 
However, it is no use crossing our bridges until we come to them, and 
we shall find that by laying down serious scientific principles based 
on universal experience they will serve us faithfully through every 
stage of the journey. 

2. When I first undertook the investigation of Yoga, I was 
fortunately equipped with a very sound training in the fundamental 
principles of modern science. I saw immediately that if we were to 
put any common sense into the business (science is nothing but 
instructed common sense), the first thing to do was to make a com- 
parative study of the different systems of mysticism. It was immedi- 
ately apparent that the results all over the world were identical. 
They were masked by sectarian theories. The methods all over the 
world were identical; this was masked by religious prejudice and 
local custom. But in their quiddity - identical! This simple 
principle proved quite sufficient to disentangle the subject from the 
extraordinary complexities which have confused its expression. 

3. When it came to the point of preparing a simple analysis of 
the matter, the question arose: what terms shall we use? The 
mysticisms of Europe are hopelessly muddled; the theories have 
entirely overlaid the methods. The Chinese system is perhaps the 
most sublime and the most simple; but, unless one is born a Chinese, 
the symbols are of really unclimbable difficulty. The Buddhist 
system is in some ways the most complete, but it is also the most 
recondite. The words are excessive in length and difficult to commit 
to memory; and generally speaking, one cannot see the wood for the 
trees. But from the Indian system, overloaded though it is by 
accretions of every kind, it is comparatively easy to extract a 
method which is free from unnecessary and undesirable implications, 
and to make an interpretation of it intelligible to, and acceptable 

by, European minds. It is this system, and this interpretation of 
it, which I propose to put before you. 

4. The great classic of Sanskrit literature is the Aphorisms of 
Patanjali. He is at least mercifully brief, and not more than ninety 
or ninety-five percent of what he writes can be dismissed as the 
ravings of a disordered mind. What remains is twenty-four carat 
gold. I now proceed to bestow it. 

5. It is said that Yoga has eight limbs. Why limbs I do not 
know. But I have found it convenient to accept this classification, 
and we can cover the ground very satisfactorily by classing our 
remarks under these eight headings. 

6. These headings are: -- 

1. Yama. 

2. Niyama. 

3. Asana. 

4. Pranayama. 

5. Pratyahara. 

6. Dharana. 

7. Dhyana. 

8. Samadhi. 

Any attempt to translate these words will mire us in a hopeless 
quag of misunderstanding. What we can do is to deal with each one in 
turn, giving at the outset some sort of definition or description 
which will enable us to get a fairly complete idea of what is meant. 
I shall accordingly begin with an account of Yama. 
Attend! Perpend! Transcent! 

7. Yama is the easiest of the eight limbs of Yoga to define, 
and corresponds pretty closely to our word 'control.' When I tell 
you that some have translated it 'morality,' you will shrink appalled 
and aghast at this revelation of the brainless baseness of humanity. 

The word 'control' is here not very different from the word 
'inhibition' as used by biologists. A primary cell, such as the 
amoeba, is in one sense completely free, in another completely 
passive. All parts of it are alike. Any part of its surface can 
ingest its food. If you cut it in half, the only result is that you 
have two perfect amoebae instead of one. How far is this condition 
removed in the evolutionary scale from trunk murders! 

Organisms developed by specialising their component structures 
have not achieved this so much by an acquisition of new powers, as by 
a restriction of part of the general powers. Thus, a Harley Street 
specialist is simply an ordinary doctor who says: 'I won't go out 
and attend to a sick person; I won't, I won't, I won't.' 

Now what is true of cells is true of all already potentially 
specialised organs. Muscular power is based upon the rigidity of 
bones, and upon the refusal of joints to allow any movement in any 
but the appointed directions. The more solid the fulcrum, the more 
efficient the lever. The same remark applies to moral issues. These 
issues are in themselves perfectly simple; but they have been com- 
pletely overlaid by the sinister activities of priests and lawyers. 

There is no question of right or wrong in any abstract sense 
about any of these problems. It is absurd to say that it is 'right' 
for chlorine to combine enthusiastically with hydrogen, and only in a 
very surly way with oxygen. It is not virtuous of a hydra to be 
hermaphrodite, or contumacious on the part of an elbow not to move 
freely in all directions. Anybody who knows what his job is has only 
one duty, which is to get that job done. Anyone who possesses a 
function has only one duty to that function, to arrange for its free 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

8. We shall not be surprised therefore if we find that the 
perfectly simple term Yama (or Control) has been bedevilled out of 
all sense by the mistaken and malignant ingenuity of the pious Hindu. 
He has interpreted the word 'control' as meaning compliance with 
certain fixed proscriptions. There are quite a lot of prohibitions 
grouped under the heading of Yama, which are perhaps quite necessary 
for the kind of people contemplated by the Teacher, but they have 
been senselessly elevated into universal rules. Everyone is familiar 
with the prohibition of pork as an article of diet by Jews and 
Mohammedans. This has nothing to do with Yama, or abstract right- 
eousness. It was due to the fact that pork in eastern countries was 

infected with the trichina; which killed people who ate pork impro- 
perly cooked. It was no good telling the savages that fact. Any 
way, they would only have broken the hygienic command when greed 
overcame them. The advice had to be made a universal rule, and 
supported with the authority of a religious sanction. They had not 
the brains to believe in trichinosis; but they were afraid of Jehovah 
and Jehannum. Just so, under the grouping of Yama we learn that the 
aspiring Yogi must become 'fixed in the non-receiving of gifts,' 
which means that if anyone offers you a cigarette or a drink of 
water, you must reject his insidious advances in the most Victorian 
manner. It is such nonsense as this which brings the science of Yoga 
into contempt. But it isn't nonsense if you consider the class of 
people for whom the injunction was promulgated; for, as we will be 
shown later, preliminary to the concentration of the mind is the 
control of the mind, which means the calm of the mind, and the Hindu 
mind is so constituted that if you offer a man the most trifling 
object, the incident is a landmark in his life. It upsets him 
completely for years. 

In the East, an absolutely automatic and thoughtless act of 
kindness to a native is liable to attach him to you, body and soul, 
for the rest of his life. In other words, it is going to upset him; 
and as a budding Yogi he has got to refuse it. But even the refusal 
is going to upset him quite a lot; and therefore he has got to become 
'fixed' in refusal; that is to say, he has got to erect by means of 
habitual refusal a psychological barrier so strong that he can really 
dismiss the temptation without a quiver, or a quaver, or even a 
demisemiquaver of thought. I am sure you will see that an absolute 
rule is necessary to obtain this result. It is obviously impossible 
for him to try to draw the line between what he may receive and what 
he may not; he is merely involved in a Socratic dilemma; whereas if 
he goes to the other end of the line and accepts everything, his mind 
is equally upset by the burden of the responsibility of dealing with 
the things he has accepted. However, all these considerations do not 
apply to the average European mind. If someone gives me 200,000 
pounds sterling, I automatically fail to notice it. It is a normal 
circumstance of life. Test me! 

9. There are a great many other injunctions, all of which have 
to be examined independently in order to find whether they apply to 
Yoga in general, and to the particular advantage of any given stu- 
dent. We are to exclude especially all those considerations based on 
fantastic theories of the universe, or on the accidents of race or 

For instance, in the time of the late Maharajah of Kashmir, 
mahsir fishing was forbidden throughout his territory; because, when 
a child, he had been leaning over the parapet of a bridge over the 
Jhilam at Srinagar, and inadvertently opened his mouth, so that a 
mahsir was able to swallow his soul. It would never have done for a 
Sahib - a Mlecha! -- to catch that mahsir. This story is really 
typical of 90% of the precepts usually enumerated under the heading 
Yama. The rest are for the most part based on local and climatic 
conditions, and they may or may not be applicable to your own case. 

And, on the other hand, there are all sorts of good rules which have 
never occurred to a teacher of Yoga; because those teachers never 
conceived the condition in which many people live today. It never 
occurred to the Buddha or Patanjali or Mansur el-Hallaj to advise his 
pupils not to practise in a flat with a wireless set next door. 

The result of all this is that all of you who are worth your 
salt will be absolutely delighted when I tell you to scrap all the 
rules and discover your own. Sir Richard Burton said: 'He noblest 
lives and noblest dies, who makes and keeps his self-made laws.' 

10. This is, of course, what every man of science has to do in 
every experiment. This is what constitutes an experiment. The other 
kind of man has only bad habits. When you explore a new country, you 
don't know what the conditions are going to be; and you have to 
master those conditions by the method of trial and error. We start 
to penetrate the stratosphere; and we have to modify our machines in 
all sorts of ways which were not altogether foreseen. I wish to 
thunder forth once more that no questions of right or wrong enter 
into our problems. But in the stratosphere it is 'right' for a man 
to be shut up in a pressure-resisting suit electrically heated, with 
an oxygen supply, whereas it would be 'wrong' for him to wear it if 
he were running the three miles in the summer sports in the 

This is the pit into which all the great religious teachers have 
hitherto fallen, and I am sure you are all looking hungrily at me in 
the hope of seeing me do likewise. But no! There is one principle 
which carries us through all conflicts concerning conduct, because it 
is perfectly rigid and perfectly elastic: - 'Do what thou wilt shall 
be the whole of the law.' 

So: it is not the least use to come and pester me about it. 
Perfect mastery of the violin in six easy lessons by correspondence! 
Should I have the heart to deny you? But Yama is different. 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. *That* is Yama. 

Your object is to perform Yoga. Your True Will is to attain the 
consummation of marriage with the universe, and your ethical code 
must constantly be adapted precisely to the conditions of your 
experiment. Even when you have discovered what your code is, you 
will have to modify it as you progress; 'remould it nearer to the 
heart's desire' - Omar Khayyam. Just so, in a Himalayan expedition 
your rule of daily life in the valleys of Sikkim or the Upper Indus 
will have to be changed when you get to the glacier. But it is 
possible to indicate (in general terms expressed with the greatest 
caution) the 'sort' of thing that is likely to be bad for you. 
Anything that weakens the body, that exhausts, disturbs or inflames 
the mind is deprecable. You are pretty sure to find as you progress 
that there are some conditions that cannot be eliminated at all in 
your particular circumstances; and then you have to find a way of 
dealing with these so that they make a minimum of trouble. And you 
will find that you cannot conquer the obstacle of Yama, and dismiss 
it from your mind once and for all. Conditions favourable for the 
beginner may become an intolerable nuisance to the adept, while, on 
the other hand, things which matter very little in the beginning 

become most serious obstacles later on. 

Another point is that quite unsuspected problems arise in the 
course of the training. The whole question of the sub-conscious mind 
can be dismissed almost as a joke by the average man as he goes about 
his daily business; it becomes a very real trouble when you discover 
that the tranquillity of the mind is being disturbed by a type of 
thought whose existence had previously been unsuspected, and whose 
source is unimaginable. 

Then again there is no perfection of materials; there will 
always be errors and weaknesses, and the man who wins through is the 
man who manages to carry on with a defective engine. The actual 
strain of the work develops the defects; and it is a matter of great 
nicety of judgment to be able to deal with the changing conditions of 
life. It will be seen that the formula -- 'Do what thou wilt shall 
be the whole of the Law' has nothing to do with 'Do as you please.' 

It is much more difficult to comply with the Law of Thelema than 
to follow out slavishly a set of dead regulations. Almost the only 
point of emancipation, in the sense of relief from a burden, is just 
the difference between Life and Death. 

To obey a set of rules is to shift the whole responsibility of 
conduct on to some superannuated Bodhisattva, who would resent you 
bitterly if he could see you, and tick you off in no uncertain terms 
for being such a fool as to think you could dodge the difficulties of 
research by the aid of a set of conventions which have little or 
nothing to do with actual conditions. 

Formidable indeed are the obstacles we have created by the 
simple process of destroying our fetters. The analogy of the con- 
quest of the air holds excellently well. The things that worry the 
pedestrian worry us not at all; but to control a new element your 
Yama must be that biological principle of adaptation to the new 
conditions, adjustment of the faculties to those conditions, and 
consequent success in those conditions, which were enunciated in 
respect of planetary evolution by Herbert Spencer and now generalised 
to cover all modes of being by the Law of Thelema. 

But now let me begin to unleash my indignation. My job - the 
establishment of the Law of Thelema - is a most discouraging job. 
It is the rarest thing to find anyone who has any ideas at all on the 
subject of liberty. Because the Law of Thelema is the law of liber- 
ty, everybody's particular hair stands on end like the quills of the 
fretful porpentine; they scream like an uprooted mandrake, and flee 
in terror from the accursed spot. Because: the exercise of liberty 
means that you have to think for yourself, and the natural inertia of 
mankind wants religion and ethics ready-made. However ridiculous or 
shameful a theory or practice is, they would rather comply than 
examine it. Sometimes it is hook-swinging or Sati; sometimes consub- 
stantiation or supra-lapsarianism; they do not mind what they are 
brought up in, as long as they are well brought up. They do not want 
to be bothered about it. The Old School Tie wins through. They 
never suspect the meaning of the pattern on the tie: the Broad 

You remember Dr. Alexandre Manette in 'A Tale of Two Cities.' 

He had been imprisoned for many years in the Bastille, and to save 
himself from going mad had obtained permission to make shoes. When 
he was released, he disliked it. He had to be approached with the 
utmost precaution; he fell into an agony of fear if his door was left 
unlocked; he cobbled away in a frenzy of anxiety lest the shoes 
should not be finished in time -- the shoes that nobody wanted. 
Charles Dickens lived at a time and in a country such that this state 
of mind appeared abnormal and even deplorable, but today it is a 
characteristic of 95 per cent of the people of England. Subjects 
that were freely discussed under Queen Victoria are now absolutely 
taboo; because everyone knows subconsciously that to touch them, 
however gently, is to risk precipitating the catastrophe of their 

There are not going to be many Yogis in England, because there 
will not be more than a very few indeed who will have the courage to 
tackle even this first of the eight limbs of Yoga: Yama. 

I do not think that anything will save the country: unless 
through war and revolution, when those who wish to survive will have 
to think and act for themselves according to their desperate needs, 
and not by some rotten yard-stick of convention. Why, even the skill 
of the workman has almost decayed within a generation! Forty years 
ago there were very few jobs that a man could not do with a jack- 
knife and a woman with a hair-pin; today you have to have a separate 
gadget for every trivial task. 

If you want to become Yogis, you will have to get a move on. 
Lege! Judica! Tace! 

Love is the law, love under will. 

(Part 3 of 8) 


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

1 . The subject of my third lecture is Niyama. Niyama? H'm! 
The inadequacy of even th noblest attempts to translate these wretch- 
ed Sanskrit words is now about to be delightfully demonstrated. The 
nearest I can get to the meaning of Niyama is 'virtue'! God help us 
all! This means virtue in the original etymological sense of the 
word - the quality of manhood; that is, to all intents and purposes, 
the quality of godhead. But since we are translating Yama 'control,' 
we find that our two words have not at all the same relationship to 
each other that the words have in the original Sanskrit; for the 
prefix 'ni' in Sanskrit gives the meaning of turning everything 
upside down and backwards forwards, - as *you* would say, Hysteron 
Proteron ~ at the same time producing the effect of transcendental 

sublimity. I find that I cannot even begin to think of a proper 
definition, although I know in my own mind perfectly well what the 
Hindus mean; if one soaks oneself in Oriental thought for a suffi- 
cient number of years, one gets a spiritual apprehension which it is 
quite impossible to express in terms applicable to the objects of 
intellectual apprehension; it is therefore much better to content 
ourselves with the words as they stand, and get down to brass tacks 
about the practical steps to be taken to master these preliminary 

2. It will hardly have escaped the attentive listener that in 

my previous lectures I have combined the maximum of discourse with 
the minimum of information; that is all part of my training as a 
Cabinet Minister. But what does emerge tentatively from my mental 
fog is that Yama, taking it by long and by large, is mostly negative 
in its effects. We are imposing inhibitions on the existing current 
of energy, just as one compresess a waterfall in turbines in order to 
control and direct the natural gravitational energy of the stream. 

3. It might be as well, before altogether leaving the subject 

of Yama, to enumerate a few of the practical conclusions which follow 
from our premiss that nothing which might weaken or destroy the 
beauty and harmony of the mind must be permitted. Social existence 
of any kind renders any serious Yoga absolutely out of the question; 
domestic life is completely incompatible with even elementary prac- 
tices. No doubt many of you will say, That's all very well for him; 
let him speak for himself; as for me, I manage my home and my busi- 
ness so that everything runs on ball bearings.' Echo answers . . . 

4. Until you actually start the practice of Yoga, you cannot 
possibly imagine what constitutes a disturbance. You most of you 
think that you can sit perfectly still; you tell me what artists' 
models can do for over thirty-five minutes. They don't. You do not 
hear the ticking of the clock; perhaps you do not even know whether a 
typewriter is going in the room; for all I know, you could sleep 
peacefully through an air-raid. That has nothing to do with it. As 
soon as you start the practices you will find, if you are doing them 
properly, that you are hearing sounds which you never heard before in 
your life. You become hypersensitive. And as you have five external 
batteries bombarding you, you get little repose. You feel the air on 
your skin with about the same intensity as you would previously have 
felt a fist in your face. 

5. To some extent, no doubt, this fact will be familiar to all 

of you. Probably most of you have been out at some time or other in 
what is grotesquely known as the silence of the night, and you will 
have become aware of infinitesimal movements of light in the dark- 
ness, of elusive sounds in the quiet. They will have soothed you and 
pleased you; it will never have occurred to you that these changes 
could each one be felt as a pang. But, even in the earliest months 
of Yoga, this is exactly what happens, and therefore it is best to be 
prepared by arranging, before you start at all, that your whole life 
will be permanently free from all the grosser causes of trouble. The 
practical problem of Yama is therefore, to a great extent, 'How shall 
I settle down to the work?' Then, having complied with the theoreti- 

cally best conditions, you have to tackle each fresh problem as it 
arises in the best way you can. 

6. We are now in a better position to consider the meaning of 
Niyama, or virtue. To most men the qualities which constitute Niyama 
are not apprehended at all by their self-consciousness. These are 
positive powers, but they are latent; their development is not merely 
measurable in terms of quantity and efficiency. As we rise from the 
coarse to the fine, from the gross to the subtle, we enter a new (and 
what appears on first sight to be an immeasurable) region. It is 
quite impossible to explain what I mean by this; if I could, you 

would know it already. How can one explain to a person who has never 
skated the nature of the pleasure of executing a difficult figure on 
the ice? He has in himself the whole apparatus ready for use; but 
experience, and experience only, can make him aware of the results of 
such use. 

7. At the same time, in a general exposition of Yoga, it may be 
useful to give some idea of the functions on which those peaks that 
pierce the clouds of the limitations of our intellectual understand- 
ing are based. 

I have found it very useful in all kinds of thinking to employ a 
sort of Abacus. The schematic representation of the universe given 
by astrology and the Tree of Life is extremely valuable, especially 
when reinforced and amplified by the Holy Qabalah. This Tree of Life 
is susceptible to infinite ramifications, and there is no need in 
this connectin to explore its subtleties. We ought to be able to 
make a fairly satisfactory diagram for elementary purposes by taking 
as the basis of our illustration the solar system as conceived by the 

I do not know whether the average student is aware that in 
practice the significations of the planets are based generally upon 
the philosophical conceptions of the Greek and Roman gods. Let us 
hope for the best, and go on! 

8. The planet Saturn, which represents anatomy, is the skele- 
ton: it is a rigid structure upon which the rest of the body is 
built. To what moral qualities does this correspond? The first 
point of virtue in a bone is its rigidity, its resistance to pres- 
sure. And so in Niyama we find that we need the qualities of abso- 
lute simplicity in our regimen; we need insensibility; we need 
endurance; we need patience. It is simply impossible for anyone who 
has not practised Yoga to understand what boredom means. I have 
known Yogis, men even holier than I, (*no! no!*) who, to escape from 
the intolerable tedium, would fly for refuge to a bottle party! It 

is a 'physiological' tedium which becomes the acutest agony. The 
tension becomes cramp; nothing else matters but to escape from the 
self-imposed constraint. 

But every evil brings its own remedy. Another quality of Saturn 
is melancholy; Saturn represents the sorrow of the universe; it is 
the Trance of sorrow that has determined one to undertake the task of 
emancipation. This is the energising force of Law; it is the rigidi- 
ty of the fact that everything is sorrow which moves one to the task, 
and keeps one on the Path. 

9. The next planet is Jupiter. This planet is in many ways the 
opposite of Saturn; it represents expansion as Saturn represents 
contraction; it is the universal love, the selfless love whose object 
can be no less than the universe itself. This comes to reinforce the 
powers of Saturn when they agonise; success is not for self but for 
all; one might acquiesce in one's own failure, but one cannot be 
unworthy of the universe. Jupiter, too, represents the vital, 

creative, genial element of the cosmos. He has Ganymede and Hebe to 
his cupbearers. There is an immense and inaccessible joy in the 
Great Work; and it is the attainment of the trance, of even the 
intellectual foreshadowing of that trance, of joy, which reassures 
the Yogi that his work is worth while. 

Jupiter digests experiences; Jupiter is the Lord of the Forces 
of Life; Jupiter takes common matter and transmutes it into celestial 

10. The next planet is Mars. Mars represents the muscular 
system; it is the lowest form of energy, and in Niyama it is to be 
taken quite literally as the virtue which enables on to contend with, 
and to conquer, the physical difficulties of the Work. The practical 
point is this: The little more and how much it is, the little less 
and what worlds away!' No matter how long you keep water at 99 
degrees Centigrade under normal barometric pressure, it will not 
boil. I shall probably be accused of advertising some kind of motor 
spirit in talking about the little extra something that the others 
haven't got, but I assure you that I am not being paid for it. 

Let us take the example of Pranayama, a subject with which I 
hope to deal in a subsequent lucubration. Let us suppose that you 
are managing your breath so that your cycle, breathing in, holding, 
and breathing out, lasts exactly a minute. That is pretty good work 
for most people, but it may be or may not be good enough to get you 
going. No one can tell you until you have tried long enough (and no 
one can tell you how long 'long enough' may be) whether that is going 
to ring the bell. It may be that if you increase your sixty seconds 
to sixty-four the phenomena would begin immediately. That sounds all 
right but as you have nearly burst your lungs doing the sixty, you 
want this *added* energy to make the grade. That is only one example 
of the difficulty which arises with every practice. 

Mars, morever, is the flaming energy of passion, it is the male 
quality in its lowest sense; it is the courage which goes berserk, 
and I do not mind telling you that, in my own case at least, one of 
the inhibitions with which I had most frequently to contend was the 
fear that I was going mad. This was especially the case when those 
phenomena began to occur, which, recorded in cold blood, did seem 
like madness. And the Niyama of Mars is the ruthless rage which 
jests at scars while dying of one's wounds. 

' ... the grim Lord of Colonsay 

Hath turned him on the ground, 

And laughed in death-pang that his blade 

The mortal thrust so well repaid' 

1 1 . The next of the heavenly bodies is the centre of all, the 
Sun. The Sun is the heart of the system; he harmonises all, ener- 

gises all, orders all. His is the courage and energy which is the 
source of all the other lesser forms of motion, and it is because of 
this that in himself he is calm. They are planets; he is a star. 
For him all planets come; around him they all move, to him they all 
tend. It is this centralisation of faculties, their control, their 
motivation, which is the Niyama of the Sun. He is not only the heart 
but the brain of the system; but he is not the 'thinking' brain, for 
in him all thought has been resolved into the beauty and harmony of 
ordered motion. 

1 2. The next of the planets is Venus. In her, for the first 
time, we come into contact with a part of our nature which is none 
the less quintessential because it has hitherto been masked by our 
pre-occupation with more active qualities. Venus resembles Jupiter, 
but on a lower scale, standing to him very much as Mars does to 
Saturn. She is close akin in nature to the Sun, and she may be 
considered an externalisation of his influence towards beauty and 
harmony. Venus is Isis, the Great Mother; Venus is Nature herself; 
Venus is the sum of all possibilities. 

The Niyama corresponding to Venus is one of the most important, 
and one of the most difficult of attainment. I said the sum of all 
possibilities, and I will ask you to go back in your minds to what I 
said before about the definition of the Great Work itself, the aim of 
the Yogi to consummate the marriage of all that he is with all that 
he is not, and ultimately to realise, insofar as the marriage is 
consummated, that what he is and what he is not are identical. 
Therefore we cannot pick and choose in our Yoga. It is written in 
the 'Book of the Law', Chapter 1 , verse 22, 'Let there be no dif- 
ference made among you between any one thing and any other thing, for 
thereby there cometh hurt.' 

Venus represents the ecstatic acceptance of all possible experi- 
ence, and the transcendental assumption of all particular experience 
into the one experience. 

Oh yes, by the way, don't forget this. In a lesser sense Venus 
represents tact. Many of the problems that confront the Yogi are 
impracticable to intellectual manipulation. They yield to 

13. Our next planet is Mercury, and the Niyama which correspond 
to him are as innumerable and various as his own qualities. Mercury 
is the Word, the Logos in the highest; he is the direct medium of 
connection between opposites; he is electricity, the very link of 

life, the Yogic process itself, its means, its end. Yet he is in 
himself indifferent to all things, as the electric current is indif- 
ferent to the meaning of the messages which may be transmitted by its 
means. The Niyama corresponding to Mercury in its highest forms may 
readily be divined from what I have already said, but in the tech- 
nique of Yoga he represents the fineness of the method which is 
infinitely adaptable to all problems, and only so because he is 
supremely indifferent. He is the adroitness and ingenuity which 
helps us in our difficulties; he is the mechanical system, the 
symbolism which helps the human mind of the Yogi to take cognisance 
of what is coming. 

It must here be remarked that because of his complete indif- 
ference to anything whatever (and that thought is -- when you get 
far enough -- only a primary point of wisdom) he is entirely unreli- 
able. One of the most unfathomably dreadful dangers of the Path is 
that you must trust Mercury, and yet that if you trust him you are 
certain to be deceived. I can only explain this, if at all, by 
pointing out that, since all truth is relative, all truth is false- 
hood. In one sense Mercury is the great enemy; Mercury is mind, and 
it is the mind that we have set out to conquer. 

14. The last of the seven sacred planets is the Moon. The Moon 
represents the totality of the female part of us, the passive princi- 
ple which is yet very different to that of Venus, for the Moon 
corresponds to the Sun much as Venus does to Mars. She is more 
purely passive than Venus, and although Venus is so universal the 
Moon is also universal in another sense. The Moon is the highest and 
the lowest; the Moon is the aspiration, the link of man and God; she 

is the supreme purity: Isis the Virgin, Isis the Virgin Mother; but 
she comes right down at the other end of the scale, to be a symbol of 
the senses themselves, the mere instrument of the registration of 
phenomena, incapable of discrimination, incapable of choice. The 
Niyama corresponding to her influence, the first of all, is that 
quality of aspiration, the positive purity which refuses union with 
anything less than the All. In Greek mythology Artemis, the Goddess 
of the Moon, is virgin; she yielded only to Pan. Here is one parti- 
cular lesson: as the Yogi advances, magic powers (Siddhi the teach- 
ers call them) are offered to the aspirant; if he accepts the least 
of these ~ or the greatest - he is lost. 

15. At the other end of the scale of the Niyama of the Moon are 
the fantastic developments of sensibility which harass the Yogi. 
These are all help and encouragement; these are all intolerable 
hindrances; these are the greatest of the obstacles which confront 
the human being, trained as he is by centuries of evolution to 
receive his whole consciousness through the senses alone. And they 
hit us hardest because they interfere directly with the technique of 
our work; we are constantly gaining new powers, despite ourselves, 
and every time this happens we have to invent a new method for 
bringing their malice to naught. But, as before, the remedy is of 

the same stuff as the disease; it is the unswerving purity of aspira- 
tion that enables us to surmount all these difficulties. The Moon is 
the sheet-anchor of our work. It is the Knowledge and Conversation 
of the Holy Guardian Angel that enables us to overcome, at all times 
and in all manners, as the need of the moment may be. 

16. There are two other planets, not counted as among the 
sacred seven. I will not say that they were known to the ancients 
and deliberately concealed, though much in their writing suggests 
that this may be the case. I refer to the planet Herschel, or 

Uranus, and Neptune. Whatever may have been the knowledge of the 
ancients, it is at least certain that they left gaps in their system 
which were exactly filled by these two planets, and the newly dis- 
covered Pluto. They fill these gaps just as the newly discovered 
chemical elements discovered in the last fifty years fill the gaps in 

Mendelejeff's table of the Periodic Law. 

1 7. Herschel represents the highest form of the True Will, and 
it seems natural and right that this should not rank with the seven 
sacred planets, because the True Will is the sphere which transcends 
them. 'Every man and every woman is a star.' Herschel defines the 
orbit of the star, your star. But Herschel is dynamic; Herschel is 
explosive; Herschel, astrologically speaking, does not move in an 
orbit; he has his own path. So the Niyama which corresponds to this 
planet is, first and last, the discovery of the True Will. This 
knowledge is secret and most sacred; each of you must incorporate for 
yourself the incidence and quality of Herschel. It is the most 
important of the tasks of the Yogi, because, until he has achieved 

it, he can have no idea who he is or where he is going. 

18. Still more remote and tenuous is the influence of Neptune. 
Here we have a Niyama of infinite delicacy, a spiritual intuition 
far, far removed from any human quality whatever. Here all is 
fantasy, and in this world are infinite pleasure, infinite perils. 

The True Niyama of Neptune is the imaginative faculty, the shadowing 
forth of the nature of the illimitable light. 

He has another function. The Yogi who understands the influence 
of Neptune, and is attuned to Neptune, will have a sense of humour, 
which is the greatest safeguard for the Yogi. Neptune is, so to 
speak, in the front line; he has got to adapt himself to difficulties 
and tribulations; and when the recruit asks 'What made that 'ole?' he 
has got to say, unsmiling, 'Mice.' 

Pluto is the utmost sentinel of all; of him it is not wise to 

. . . Having now given vent to this sybilline, obscure and sinister 
utterance, it may well be asked by the greatly daring: Why is it not 
wise to speak of Pluto? The answer is profound. It is because 
nothing at all is known about him. 

Anyhow it hardly matters; we have surely had enough of Niyama 
for one evening! 

1 9. It is now proper to sum up briefly what we have learnt 
about Yama and Niyama. They are in a sense the moral, logical 
preliminaries of the technique of Yoga proper. They are the stra- 
tegical as opposed to the tactical dispositions which must be made by 
the aspirant before he attempts anything more serious than the five 
finger exercises, as we may call them -- the recruit's drill of 
postures, breathing exercises and concentration which the shallow 
confidently suppose to constitute this great science and art. 

We have seen that it is presumptuous and impractical to lay down 
definite rules as to what we are to do. What does concern us is so 
to arrange matters that we are free to do anything that may become 
necessary or expedient, allowing for that development of super-normal 
powers which enables us to carry out our plans as they form in the 
mutable bioscope of events. 

If anyone comes to me for a rough and ready practical plan I 
say: Well, if you must stay in England, you may be able to bring it 
off with a bit of luck in an isolated cottage, remote from roads, if 
you have the services of an attendant already well trained to deal 

with the emergencies that are likely to arise. A good disciplinarian 
might carry on fairly well, at a pinch, in a suite in Claridge's. 

But against this it may be urged that one has to reckon with 
unseen forces. The most impossible things begin to happen when once 
you get going. It is not really satisfactory to start serious Yoga 
unless you are in a country where the climate is reliable, and where 
the air is not polluted by the stench of civilisation. It is ex- 
tremely important, above all things important, unless one is an 
exceedingly rich man, to find a country where the inhabitants under- 
stand the Yogin mode of life, where they are sympathetic with its 
practices, treat the aspirant with respect, and unobtrusively assist 
and protect him. In such circumstances, the exigency of Yama and 
Niyama is not so serious a stress. 

There is, too, something beyond all these practical details 
which it is hard to emphasise without making just those mysterious 
assumptions which we have from the first resolved to avoid. All I 
can say is that I am very sorry, but this particular fact is going to 
hit you in the face before you have started very long, and I do not 
see why we should bother about the mysterious assumptions underlying 
the acceptance of the fact any more than in the case of what is after 
all equally mysterious and unfathomable: any object of any of the 
senses. The fact is this; that one acquires a feeling -- a quite 
irrational feeling - that a given place or a given method is right 
or wrong for its purposes. The intimation is as assured as that of 
the swordsman when he picks up an untried weapon; either it comes up 
sweet to the hand, or it does not. You cannot explain it, and you 
cannot argue it away. 

21 . I have treated Yama and Niyama at great length because 
their importance has been greatly under-rated, and their nature 
completely misunderstood. They are definitely magical practices, 
with hardly a tinge of mystical flavour. The advantage to us here is 
that we can very usefully exercise and develop ourselves in this way 
in this country where the technique of Yoga is for all practical 
purposes impossible. Incidentally, one's real country -- that is, 
the conditions - in which one happens to be born is the only one in 
which Yama and Niyama can be practised. You cannot dodge your Karma. 
You have got to earn the right to devote yourself to Yoga proper by 
arranging for that devotion to be a necessary stage in the fulfilment 
of your True Will. In Hindustan one is now allowed to become 
'Sanyasi' - a recluse - until one has fulfilled one's duty to one's 
own environment - rendered to Caesar the things which are Caesar's 
before rendering to God the things which are God's. 

Woe to that seven months' abortion who thinks to take advantage 
of the accidents of birth, and, mocking the call of duty, sneaks off 
to stare at a blank wall in China! Yama and Niyama are only the more 
critical stages of Yoga because they cannot be translated in terms of 
a schoolboy curriculum. Nor can schoolboy tricks adequately excuse 
the aspirant from the duties of manhood. Do what thou wilt shall be 
the whole of the Law. 

Rejoice, true men, that this is thus! 

For this at least may be said, that there are results to be 

obtained in this way which will not only fit the aspirant for the 
actual battle, but will introduce him to classes of hitherto un- 
guessed phenomena whose impact will prepare his mind for that terific 
shock of its own complete overthrow which marks the first critical 
result of the practices of Yoga. 

Love is the law, love under will. 

(Part 4 of 8) 

The Technical Practices of Yoga. 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

1 . Last week we were able to go away feeling that the back of 
the job had been broken. We had got rid of bad ways, bad wives, and 
bad weather. We are comfortably installed in the sunshine, with no 
one to bother us. We have nothing to do but our work. 

Such being our fortunate state, we may usefully put in an hour 
considering our next step. Let us recall, in the first place, what 
we decided to be the quintessence of our task. It was to annihilate 
dividuality. 'Make room for me,' cries the Persian poet whose name I 
have forgotten, the fellow Fitzgerald translated, not Omar Khayyam, 
'Make room for me on that divan which has no room for twain' -- a 
remarkable prophetic anticipation of the luxury flatlet. 

We are to unite the subject and object of consciousness in the 
ecstasy which soon turns, as we shall find later on, into the more 
sublime state of indifference, and then annihilate both the party of 
the first part aforesaid and the party of the second part aforesaid. 
This evidently results in further parties -- one might almost say 
cocktail parties -- constantly increasing until we reach infinity, 
and annihilate that, thereby recovering our original Nothing. Yet is 
that identical with the original Nothing? Yes -- and No! No! No! 
A thousand times no! For, having fulfilled all the possibilities of 
that original Nothing to manifest in positive terms, we have thereby 
killed for ever all its possibilities of mischief. 

Our task being thus perfectly simple, we shall not require the 
assistance of a lot of lousy rishis and sanyasis. We shall not apply 
to a crowd of moth-eaten Arahats, of betel-chewing Bodhisattvas, for 
instruction. As we said in the first volume of 'The Equinox', in the 
first number: 

'We place no reliance 
On Virgin or Pigeon; 
Our method is science, 

Our aim is religion.' 

Our common sense, guided by experience based on observation, 
will be sufficient. 

2. We have seen that the Yogic process is implicit in every 
phenomenon of existence. All that we have to do is to extend it 
consciously to the process of thought. We have seen that thought 
cannot exist without continual change; all that we have to do is to 
prevent change occurring. All change is conditioned by time and 
space and other categories; any existing object must be susceptible 
of description by means of a system of co-ordinate axes. 

On the 'terrasse' of the Cafe des Deux Magots it was once 
necessary to proclaim the entire doctrine of Yoga in the fewest 
possible words 'with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, 
and with the trump of God.' St. Paul's First Epistle to the Thessa- 
lonians, the Fourth Chapter and the Sixteenth Verse. I did so. 

'Sit still. Stop thinking. Shut up. Get out!' 

The first two of these instructions comprise the whole of the 
technique of Yoga. The last two are of a sublimity which it would be 
improper to expound in this present elementary stage. 

The injunction 'Sit still' is intended to include the inhibition 
of all bodily stimuli capable of creating movement in consciousness. 
The injunction 'Stop thinking' is the extension of this to all mental 
stimuli. It is unnecessary to discuss here whether the latter can 
exist apart from the former. It is at least evident that many mental 
processes arise from physical processes; and so we shall at least be 
getting a certain distance along the road if we have checked the 

3. Let me digress for a moment, and brush away one misunder- 
standing which is certain to occur to every Anglo-Saxon mind. About 
the worst inheritance of the emasculate school of mystics is the 
abominable confusion of thought which arises from the idea that 
bodily functions and appetites have some moral implications. This is 
a confusion of the planes. There is no true discrimination between 
good and evil. The only question that arises is that of convenience 
in respect of any proposed operation. The whole of the moral and 
religious lumber of the ages must be discarded for ever before 
attempting Yoga. You will find out only too soon what it means to do 
wrong; by our very thesis itself all action is wrong. Any action is 
only relatively right in so far as it may help us to put an end to 

the entire process of action. 

These relatively useful actions are therefore those which make 
for control, or 'virtue.' They have been classified, entirely 
regardless of trouble and expense, in enormous volume, and with the 
utmost complexity; to such a point, in fact, that merely to permit 
oneself to study the nomenclature of the various systems can have but 
one result: to fuddle your brain for the rest of your incarnation. 

4. I am going to try to simplify. The main headings are: 

(a) Asana, usually translated 'posture,' and 

(b) Pranayama, usually translated 'control of breath.' 
These translations, as usual, are perfectly wrong and inadequate. 

The real object of Asana is control of the muscular system, conscious 
and unconscious, so that no messages from the body can reach the 
mind. Asana is concerned with the static aspect of the body. 
Pranayama is really the control of the dynamic aspect of the body. 

There is something a little paradoxical in the situation. The 
object of the process of Yoga is to stop all processes, including 
itself. But it is not sufficient for the Yogi to shoot himself, 
because to do so would be to destroy the control, and so to release 
the pain-producing energies. We cannot enter into a metaphysical 
discussion as to what it is that controls, or before we know where we 
are we shall be moonstruck by hypotheses about the soul. 

5. Let us forget all this rubbish, and decide what is to be 
done. We have seen that to stop existing processes by an act of 
violence is merely to release the undesirable elements. If we want 
peace on Dartmoor, we do not open the doors of the prison. What we 
do is to establish routine. What is routine? Routine is rhythm. If 

you want to go to sleep, you get rid of irregular, unexpected noises. 
What is wanted is a lullaby. You watch sheep going through a gate, 
or voters at a polling station. When you have got used to it, the 
regularity of the engines of a train or steamship is soothing. What 
we have to do with the existing functions of the body is to make them 
so regular, with gradually increasing slowness, that we become 
unconscious of their operation. 

6. Let us deal first with the question of Asana. It might be 
thought that nothing would be more soothing than swinging or gentle 
massage. In a sense, and up to a certain point, this is so. But the 
activity cannot be continued because fatigue supervenes, and sooner 
or later the body protests by going to sleep. We must, therefore, 
make up our minds from the start to reduce bodily rhythm to its 

7. I am not quite sure whether it is philosophically defensi- 
ble, whether it is logically justifiable, to assert the principles of 
Asana as they occur in our practice. We must break away from our 
sorites, turn to the empiricism of experiment, and trust that one day 
we may be able to work back from observed fact to a coherent 

The point is that by sitting still, in the plain literal sense 
of the words, the body does ultimately respond to the adjuration of 
that great Mahatma, Harry Lauder, 'Stop your ticklin', Jock!' 

8. When we approach the details of Asana, we are immediately 
confronted with the refuse-heap of Hindu pedantry. We constantly 
approach the traditional spiritual attitude of the late Queen 
Victoria. The only types of Asana which offer even the most trans- 
ient interest are those of which I am not going to speak at all, 
because they have nothing whatever to do with the high-minded type of 
Yoga which I am presenting to this distinguished audience. I should 
blush to do otherwise. Anyhow, who wants to know about these ridicu- 
lous postures? If there is any fun in the subject at all, it is the 

fun of finding them out. I must admit that if you start with a 
problem such as that of juxtaposing the back of your head and should- 
ers with the back of the head and shoulders of the other person 

concerned, (*1) the achievement does produce a certain satisfaction. 
But this, I think, is mostly vanity, and it has nothing whatever to 
do, as I said before, with what we are trying to talk about. 

9. The various postures recommended by the teachers of Yoga 
depend for the most part upon the Hindu anatomy for their value, and 
upon mystic theories concerning the therapeutic and thaumaturgic 
properties ascribed to various parts of the body. If, for instance, 

you can conquer the nerve Udana, you can wlk on water. But who the 
devil wants to talk on water? Swimming is much better fun. (I bar 
sharks, sting-rays, cuttle-fish, electric eels and picanhas. Also 
trippers, bathing belles and Mr. Lansbury.) Alternatively, freeze 
the water and dance on it! A great deal of Hindu endeavour seems to 
consist in discovering the most difficult possible way to attain the 
most undesirable end. 

1 0. When you start tying yourself into a knot, you will find 
that some positions are much more difficult and inconvenient than 
others; but that is only the beginning. If you retain 'any' posture 
long enough, you get cramp. I forget the exact statistics, but I 
gather that the muscular exertion made by a man sleeping peacefully 
in bed is sufficient to raise fourteen elephants per hour to the 
stratosphere. Anyway, I remember that it is something rather diffi- 
cult to believe, if only because I did not believe it myself. 

1 1 . Why then should we bother to choose a specially sacred 
position? Firstly, we want to be steady and easy. We want, in 
particular, to be able to do Pranayama in that position, if ever we 
reach the stage of attempting that practice. We may, therefore, 
formulate (roughly speaking) the conditions to be desired in the 
posture as follows: ~ 

1 . We want to be properly balanced. 

2. We want our arms free. (They are used in some Pranyama.) 

3. We want our breathing apparatus as unrestrained as possible. 
Now, if you will keep these points in mind, and do not get side- 
tracked by totally irrelevant ideas, such as to imagine that you are 
getting holier by adopting some attitude traditionally appropriate to 
a deity or holy man; and if you will refrain from the Puritan abomi- 
nation that anything is good for you if it hurts you enough, you 
ought to be able to find out for yourself, after a few experiments, 
some posture which meets these conditions. I should very much rather 
have you do this than come to me for some mumbo-jumbo kind of author- 
ity. I am no pig-sticking pukka sahib - not even from Poona ~ to 

put my hyphenated haw-haw humbug over on the B. Public.(*2) I would 
rather you did the thing 'wrong' by yourselves, and learned from your 
errors, than get it 'right' from the teacher, and atrophied your 
initiative and your faculty of learning anything at all. 

It is, however, perfectly right that you should have some idea 
of what happens when you sit down to practise. 

1 2. Let me digress for a moment and refer to what I said in my 
text-book on Magick with regard to the formula IAO. This formula 
covers all learning. You begin with a delightful feeling as of a 
child with a new toy; you get bored, and you attempt to smash it. 
But if you are a wise child, you have had a scientific attitude 

towards it, and you do *not* smash it. You pass through the stage of 
boredom, and arise from the inferno of torture towards the stage of 
resurrection, when the toy has become a god, declared to you its 
inmost secrets, and become a living part of your life. There are no 
longer these crude, savage reactions of pleasure and pain. The new 
knowledge is assimilated. 

13. So it is with Asana. The chosen posture attracts you; you 
purr with self-satisfaction. How clever you have been! How nicely 
the posture suits all conditions! You absolutely melt with maudlin 
good feeling. I have known pupils who have actually been betrayed 
into sparing a kindly thought for the Teacher! It is quite clear 

that there is something wrong about this. Fortunately, Time, the 
great healer, is on the job as usual; Time takes no week-ends off; 
Time does not stop to admire himself; Time keeps right on.(*3) 
Before very long, you forget all about the pleasantness of things, 
and it would not be at all polite to give you any idea of what you 
are going to think of the Teacher. 

14. Perhaps the first thing you notice is that, although you 
have started in what is apparently the most comfortable position, 
there is a tendency to change that position without informing you. 
For example, if you are sitting in the 'god' position with your knees 
together, you will find in a few minutes that they have moved gently 
apart, without your noticing it. Freud would doubtless inform you 
that this is due to an instinctive exacerbation of infantile sexual 
theories. I hope that no one here is going to bother me with that 
sort of nauseating nonsense. 

1 5. Now it is necessary, in order to hold a position, to pay 
attention to it. That is to say: you are going to become conscious 
of your body in ways of which you are not conscious if you are 
engaged in some absorbing mental pursuit, or even in some purely 
physical activity, such as running. It sounds paradoxical at first 
sight, but violent exercise, so far from concentrating attention on 
the body, takes it away. That is because exercise has its own 
rhythm; and, as I said, rhythm is half-way up the ridge to Silence. 

Very good, then; in the comparative stillness of the body, the 
student becomes aware of minute sounds which did not disturb him in 
his ordinary life. At least, not when his mind was occupied with 
matters of interest. You will begin to fidget, to itch, to cough. 
Possibly your breathing will begin to play tricks upon you. All 
these symptoms must be repressed. The process of repressing them is 
extremely difficult; and, like all other forms of repression, it 
leads to a terrific exaggeration of the phenomena which it is 
intended to repress. 

1 6. There are quite a lot of little tricks familiar to most 
scientific people from their student days. Some of them are very 
significant in this connection of Yoga. For instance, in the matter 

of endurance, such as holding out a weight at arm's length, you can 
usually beat a man stronger than yourself. If you attend to your 
arm, you will probably tire in a minute; if you fix your mind reso- 
lutely on something else, you can go on for five minutes or ten, or 
even longer. It is a question of active and passive; when Asana 

begins to annoy you the reply is to annoy it, to match the active 
thought of controlling the minute muscular movement against the 
passive thought of easing the irritation and disturbance. 

1 7. Now I do not believe that there are any rules for doing 
this that will be any use to you. There are innumerable little 
tricks that you might try; only it is, as in the case of the posture 
itself, rather better if you invent your own tricks. I will only 
mention one: roll the tongue back towards the uvula, at the same 
time let the eyes converge towards an imaginery point in the centre 
of the forehead. There are all sorts of holinesses indicated in this 
attitude, and innumerable precedents on the part of the most respect- 
able divinities. Do, please, forget all this nonsense! The advan- 
tage is simply that your attention is forced to maintain the awkward 
position. You become aware sooner than you otherwise would of any 
relaxation; and you thereby show the rest of the body that it is no 
use trying to disturb you by its irritability. 

But there are no rules. I said there weren't, and there aren't. 
Only the human mind is so lazy and worthless that it is a positive 
instinct to try to find some dodge to escape hard work. 

These tricks may help or they may hinder; it is up to you to 
find out which are good and which are bad, the why and the what and 
all the other questions. It all comes to the same thing in the end. 
There is only one way to still the body in the long run, and that is 
to keep it still. It's dogged as does it. 

18. The irritations develop into extreme agony. Any attempt to 
alleviate this simply destroys the value of the practice. I must 
particularly warn the aspirant against rationalising (I *have* known 
people who were so hopelessly bat-witted that they rationalised). 
They thought: 'Ah, well, this position is not suitable for me, as I 
thought it was. I have made a mess of the Ibis position; now I'll 
have a go at the Dragon position.' But the Ibis has kept his job, 
and attained his divinity, by standing on one leg throughout the 
centuries. If you go to the Dragon he will devour you. 

1 9. It is through the perversity of human nature that the most 
acute agony seems to occur when you are within a finger's breadth of 
full success. Remember Gallipoli! I am inclined to think that it 

may be a sort of symptom that one is near the critical point when the 
anguish becomes intolerable. 

You will probably ask what 'intolerable' means. I rudely 
answer: 'Find out!' But it may give you some idea of what is, after 
all, not *too* bad, when I say that in the last months of my own work 
it often used to take me ten minutes (at the conclusion of the 
practice) to straighten my left leg. I took the ankle in both hands, 
and eased it out a fraction of a millimetre at a time. 

20. At this point the band begins to play. Quite suddenly the 
pain stops. An ineffable sense of relief sweeps over the Yogi - 
notice that I no longer call him 'student' or 'aspirant' - and he 
becomes aware of a very strange fact. Not only was that position 
giving him pain, but all other bodily sensations that he has ever 
experienced are in the nature of pain, and were only borne by him by 
the expedient of constant flitting from one to another. 

He is at ease; because, for the first time in his life, he has 
become really unconscious of the body. Life has been one endless 
suffering; and now, so far as this particular Asana is concerned, the 
plague is abated. 

I feel that I have failed to convey the full meaning of this. 
The fact is that words are entirely unsuitable. The complete and 
joyous awakening from the lifelong and unbroken nightmare of physical 
discomfort is impossible to describe. 

21 . The results and mastery of Asana are of use not only in the 
course of attainment of Yoga, but in the most ordinary affairs of 

life. At any time when fatigued, you have only to assume your Asana, 
and you are completely rested. It is as if the attainment of the 
mastery has worn down all those possibilities of physical pain which 
are inherent in that particular position. The teachings of physio- 
logy are not contradictory to this hypothesis. 

The conquest of Asana makes for endurance. If you keep in 
constant practice, you ought to find that about ten minutes in the 
posture will rest you as much as a good night's sleep. 

So much for the obstacle of the body considered as static. Let 
us now turn our attention to the conquest of its dynamics. 

22. It is always pleasing to turn to a subject like Pranayama. 
Pranayama means control of force. It is a generalised term. In the 
Hindu system there are quite a lot of subtle sub-strata of the 
various energies of the body which have all got names and properties. 
I do not propose to deal with the bulk of them. There are only two 
which have much practical importance in life. One of these is not to 
be communicated to the public in a rotten country like this; the 

other is the well-known 'control of breath.' 

This simply means that you get a stop watch, and choose a cycle 
of breathing out and breathing in. Both operations should be made as 
complete as possible. The muscular system must be taxed to its 
utmost to assist the expansion and contraction of the lungs. 

When you have got this process slow and regular, for instance, 
30 seconds breathing out and 15 in, you may add a few seconds in 
which the breath is held, either inside or outside the lungs. 

(It is said, by the way, that the operation of breathing out 
should last about twice as long as that of breathing in, the theory 
being that breathing out quickly may bring a loss of energy. I think 
there may be something in this.) 

23. There are other practices. For instance, one can make the 
breathing as quick and shallow as possible. Any good practice is 
likely to produce its own phenomena, but in accordance with the 
general thesis of these lectures I think it will be obvious that the 
proper practice will aim at holding the breath for as long a period 
as possible - because that condition will represent as close an 
approximation to complete stillness of the physiological apparatus as 
may be. Of course we are not stilling it; we are doing nothing of 

the sort. But at least we are deluding ourselves into thinking that 
we are doing it, and the point is that, according to tradition, if 
you can hold the mind still for as much as twelve seconds you will 
get one of the highest results of Yoga. It is certainly a fact that 

when you are doing a cycle of 20 seconds out, 10 in, and 30 holding, 
there is quite a long period during the holding period when the mind 
does tend to stop its malignant operations. By the time this cycle 
has become customary, you are able to recognise instinctively the 
arrival of the moment when you can throw yourself suddenly into the 
mental act of concentration. In other words, by Asana and Pranayama 
you have worked yourself into a position where you are free, if only 
for a few seconds, to attempt actual Yoga processes, which you have 
previously been prevented from attempting by the distracting activi- 
ties of the respiratory and muscular systems. 

24. And so? Yes. Pranayama may be described as nice clean 
fun. Before you have been doing it very long, things are pretty 
certain to begin to happen, though this, I regret to remark, is fun 

to you, but death to Yoga. 

The classical physical results of Pranayama are usually divided 
into four stages: 

1 . Perspiration. This is not the ordinary perspiration which 
comes from violent exercise; it has peculiar properties, and I am not 
going to tell you what these are, because it is much better for you 
to perform the practices, obtain the experience, and come to me 
yourself with the information. In this way you will know that you 
have got the right thing, whereas if I were to tell you now, you 
would very likely imagine it. 

2. Automatic rigidity: the body becomes still, as the result of 

a spasm. This is perfectly normal and predictable. It is customary 
to do it with a dog. You stick him in a bell-jar, pump in oxygen or 
carbonic acid or something, and the dog goes stiff. You can take him 
out and wave him around by a leg as if he were frozen. This is not 
quite the same thing, but near it. 

25. Men of science are terribly handicapped in every investiga- 
tion by having been trained to ignore the immeasurable. All pheno- 
mena have subtle qualities which are at present insusceptible to any 
properly scientific methods of investigation. We can imitate the 
processes of nature in the laboratory, but the imitation is not 
always exactly identical with the original. For instance, Professor 

J. B. S. Haldane attempted some of the experiments suggested in The 
Equinox' in this matter of Pranayama, and very nearly killed himself 
in the process. He did not see the difference between the experiment 
with the dog and the phenomena which supervene as the climax of a 
course of gentle operation. It is the difference between the exhil- 
aration produced by sipping Clos Vougeot '26 and the madness of 
swilling corn whiskey. It is the same foolishness as to think that 
sniffing cocaine is a more wholesome process than chewing coca 
leaves. Why, they exclaim, cocaine is chemically pure! Cocaine is 
the active principle! We certainly do not want these nasty leaves, 
where our sacred drug is mixed up with a lot of vegetable stuff which 
rather defies analysis, and which cannot possibly have any use for 
that reason! This automatic rigidity, or Shukshma Khumbakham, is not 
merely to be defined as the occurrence of physiological rigidity. 
That is only the grosser symptom. 

26. The third stage is marked by Buchari-siddhi: 'the power of 

jumping about like a frog' would be a rough translation of this 
fascinating word. This is a very extraordinary phenomenon. You are 
sitting tied up on the floor, and you begin to be wafted here and 
there, much as dead leaves are moved by a little breeze. This does 
happen; you are quite normal mentally, and you can watch yourself 
doing it. 

The natural explanation of this is that your muscles are making 
very quick short spasmodic jerks without your being conscious of the 
fact. The dog helps us again by making similar contortions. As 
against this, it may be argued that your mind appears to be perfectly 
normal. There is, however, one particuliar point of consciousness, 
the sensation of almost total loss of weight. This, by the way, may 
sound a little alarming to the instructed alienist. There is a 
similar feeling which occurs in certain types of insanity. 

27. The fourth state is Levitation. The Hindus claim that 
'jumping about like a frog' implies a genuine loss of weight, and 
that the jumping is mainly lateral because you have not perfected the 
process. If you were absolutely balanced, they claim that you would 
rise quietly into the air. 

I do not know about this at all. I never saw it happen. On the 
other hand, I have often felt as if it were happening; and on three 
occasions at least comparatively reliable people have said that they 
saw it happening to me. I do not think it proves anything. 

These practices, Asana and Pranayama, are, to a certain extent, 
mechanical, and to that extent it is just possible for a man of 
extraordinary will power, with plenty of leisure and no encumbrances, 
to do a good deal of the spade-work of Yoga even in England. But I 
should advise him to stick very strictly to the purely physical 
preparation, and on no account to attempt the practices of concentra- 
tion proper, until he is able to acquire suitable surroundings. 

But do not let him imagine that in making this very exceptional 
indulgence I am going to advocate any slipshod ways. If he decides 
to do, let us say, a quarter of an hour's Asana twice daily, rising 
to an hour four times daily, and Pranayama in proportion, he has got 
to stick to this - no cocktail parties, football matches, or funer- 
als of near relations, must be allowed to interfere with the routine. 
The drill is the thing, the acquisition of the habit of control, much 
more important than any mere success in the practices themselves. I 
would rather you wobbled about for your appointed hour than sat still 
for fifty-nine minutes. The reason for this will only be apparent 
when we come to the consideration of advanced Yoga, a subject which 
may be adequately treated in a second series of four lectures. By 
special request only, and I sincerely hope that nothing of the sort 
will happen. 

29. Before proposing a vote of thanks to the lecturer for his 
extraordinarily brilliant exposition of these most difficult sub- 
jects, I should like to add a few words on the subject of Mantra- 
Yoga, because this is really a branch of Pranayama, and one which it 
is possible to practise quite thoroughly in this country. In Book 
IV., Part I., I have described it, with examples, quite fully enough. 
I need here only say that its constant use, day and night, without a 

moment's cessation, is probably as useful a method as one could find 
of preparing the current of thought for the assumption of a rhythmi- 
cal form, and rhythm is the great cure for irregularity. Once it is 
established, no interference will prevent it. Its own natural 
tendency is to slow down, like a pendulum, until time stops, and the 
sequence of impressions which constitutes our intellectual apprehen- 
sions of the universe is replaced by that form of consciousness (or 
unconsciousness, if you prefer it, not that either would give the 
slightest idea of what is meant) which is without condition of any 
kind, and therefore represents in perfection the consummation of 

Love is the law, love under will. 

*1) In coitu, of course. - ED. 

*2) One Yeats-Brown. What *are* Yeats? Brown, of course, and 

*3) Some Great Thinker once said: 'Time *marches* on.' What 
felicity of phrase! 

(Part 5 of 8) 


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

let us begin this evening by going briefly over the ground 
covered by my first four lectures. I told you that Yoga meant union, 
and that this union was the cause of all phenomena. Consciousness 
results from the conjunction of a mysterious stimulus with a mysteri- 
ous sensorium. The kind of Yoga which is the subject of these 
remarks is merely an expansion of this, the union of self-conscious- 
ness with the universe. 

We spoke of the eight limbs of Yoga, and dealt with the four 
which refer to physical training and experiences. 

The remaining four deal with mental training and experiences, 
and these form the subject of the ensuing remarks. 

2. Before we deal with these in detail, I think it would be 
helpful to consider the formula of Yoga from what may be called the 
mathematical, or magical standpoint. This formula has been described 
in my text-book on Magick, Chapter III., the formula of Tetragramma- 
ton. This formula covers the entire universe of magical operations. 
The word usually pronounced Jehovah is called the Ineffable Name; it 
is alleged that when pronounced accurately its vibrations would 
destroy the universe; and this is indeed quite true, when we take the 

deeper interpretation. 

Tetragrammaton is so called from the four letters in the word: 
Yod, He, Vau, and He'. This is compared with the relations of a 
family -- Yod, the Father, He, the Mother; Vau, the Son; and the 
final He', the Daughter. (In writing she is sometimes distinguished 
from her mother by inserting a small point in the letter.) This is 
also a reference to the elements, fire, water, air, earth. I may go 
further, and say that all possible existing things are to be classed 
as related to one or more of these elements for convenience in 
certain operations. But these four letters, though in one sense they 
represent the eternal framework, are not, so to speak, original. For 
instance, when we place Tetragrammaton on the Tree of Life, the Ten 
Sephiroth or numbers, we do not include the first Sephira. Yod is 
referred to the second, He to the third, Vau to the group from 4 to 
9, and He' final to the tenth. No. 1 is said to be symbolised by the 
top point of the Yod. 

It is only in No. 10 that we get the manifested universe, which 
is thus shown as the result of the Yoga of the other forces, the 
first three letters of the name, the active elements, fire, water and 
air. (These are the three 'mother letters' in the Hebrew alphabet.) 
The last element, earth, is usually considered a sort of consolida- 
tion of the three; but that is rather an unsatisfactory way of 
regarding it, because if we admit the reality of the universe at all 
we are in philosophical chaos. However, this does not concern us for 
the moment. 

3. When we apply these symbols to Yoga, we find that fire 
represents the Yogi, and water the object of his meditation. ((You 
can, if you like, reverse these attributions. It makes no difference 
except to the metaphysician. And precious little to him!) 

The Yod and the He combine, the Father and Mother unite, to 
produce a son, Vau. This son is the exalted state of mind produced 
by the union of the subject and the object. This state of mind is 
called Samadhi in the Hindu terminology. It has many varieties, of 
constantly increasing sublimity; but it is the generic term which 
implies this union which is the subject of Yoga. At this point we 
ought to remember poor little He' final, who represents the ecstasy 
-- shall I say the orgasm? -- and the absorption thereof: the 
compensation which cancels it. I find it excessively difficult to 
express myself. It is one of these ideas which is very deeply seated 
in my mind as a result of constant meditation, and I feel that I am 
being entirely feeble when I say that the best translation of the 
letter He' final would be 'ecstasy rising into Silence.' Moral: 
meditate yourselves, and work it out! Finally, there is no other 

4. I think it is very important, since we are studying Yoga 
from a strictly scientific point of view, to emphasise the exactness 

of the analogy that exists between the Yogic and the sexual process. 
If you look at the Tree of Life, you see that the Number One at the 
top divides itself into Numbers Two and Three, the equal and opposite 
Father and Mother, and their union results in the complexity of the 
Son, the Vau Group, while the whole figure recovers its simplicity in 

the single Sephira of He' final, of the Daughter. 

It is exactly the same in biology. The spermatozoon and the 
ovum are biologically the separation of an unmanifested single cell, 
which is in its function simple, though it contains in itself, in a 
latent form, all the possibilitiies of the original single cell. 
Their union results in the manifestatiion of these qualities in the 
child. Their potentialities are expressed and developed in terms of 
time and space, while also, accompanying the act of union, is the 
ecstasy which is the natural result of the consciousness of their 
annihilation, the necessary condition of the production of their 

5. It would be easy to develop this thesis by analogies drawn 
from ordinary human experiences of the growth of passion, the hunger 
accompanying it, the intense relief and joy afforded by satisfaction. 

I like rather to think of the fact that all true religion has been 
the artistic, the dramatic, representation of the sexual process, not 
merely because of the usefulness of this cult in tribal life, but as 
the veil of this truer meaning which I am explaining to you tonight. 
I think that every experience in life should be regarded as a symbol 
of the truer experience of the deeper life. In the Oath of a Master 
of the Temple occurs the clause: 'I will interpret every phenomenon 
as a particular dealing of God with my soul.' 

It is not for us to criticise the Great Order for expressing its 
idea in terms readily understandable by the ordinary intelligent 
person. We are to wave aside the metaphysical implications of the 
phrase, and grasp its obvious meaning. So every act should be an act 
of Yoga. And this leads us directly to the question which we have 
postponed until now -- Concentration. 

6. Concentration! The sexual analogy still serves us. Do you 
remember the Abbe in Browning? Asked to preside at the Court of 
Love, he gave the prize to the woman the object of whose passion was 
utterly worthless, in this admirable judgment: 

'The love which to one, and one only, has reference 
Seems terribly like what perhaps gains God's preference.' 
It is a commonplace, and in some circumstances (such as con- 
stantly are found among foul-minded Anglo-Saxons) a sort of joke, 
that lovers are lunatics. Everything at their command is pressed 
into the service of their passion; every kind of sacrifice, every 
kind of humiliation, every kind of discomfort -- these all count for 
nothing. Every energy is strained and twisted, every energy is 
directed to the single object of its end. The pain of a momentary 
separation seems intolerable; the joy of consummation impossible to 
describe: indeed, almost impossible to bear! 

7. Now this is exactly what the Yogi has to do. All the books 

- they disagree on every other point, but they agree on this stupid- 
ity -- tell him that he has to give up this and give up that, some- 
times on sensible grounds, more often on grounds of prejudice and 
superstition. In the advanced stages one has to give up the very 
virtues which have brought one to that state! Every idea, considered 
as an idea, is lumber, dead weight, poison; but it is all wrong to 
represent these acts as acts of sacrifice. There is no question of 

depriving oneself of anything one wants. The process is rather that 
of learning to discard what one thought one wanted in the darkness 
before the dawn of the discovery of the real object of one's passion. 
Hence, note well! concentration has reduced our moral obligations to 
their simplest terms: there is a single standard to which everything 
is to be referred. To hell with the Pope! If Lobster Newburg upsets 
your digestion -- and good digestion is necessary to your practice -- 
then you do not eat Lobster Newburg. Unless this is clearly under- 
stood, the Yogi will constantly be side-tracked by the sophistica- 
tions of religious and moral fanatics. To hell with the Archbishops! 

8. You will readily appreciate that to undertake a course of 
this kind requires careful planning. You have got to map out your 
life in advance for a considerable period so far as it is humanly 
possible to do so. If you have failed in this original strategical 
disposition, you are simply not going to carry through the campaign. 
Unforeseen contingencies are certain to arise, and therefore one of 
our precautions is to have some sort of reserve of resource to fling 
against unexpected attacks. 

This is, of course, merely concentration in daily life, and it 
is the habit of such concentration that prepares one for the much 
severer task of the deeper concentration of the Yoga practices. For 
those who are undertaking a preliminary course there is nothing 
better, while they are still living more or less ordinary lives, than 
the practices recommended in The Equinox'. There should be - there 
must be - a definite routine of acts calculated to remind the 
student of the Great Work. 

9. The classic of the subject is 'Liber Astarte vel Berylli', 

the Book of Devotion to a Particular Deity. This book is admirable 
beyond praise, reviewing the whole subject in every detail with 
flawless brilliancy of phrase. Its practice is enough in itself to 
bring the devotee to high attainment. This is only for the few. But 
every student should make a point of saluting the Sun (in the manner 
recommended in Liber Resh) four times daily, and he shall salute the 
Moon on her appearance with the Mantra Gayatri. The best way is to 
say the Mantra instantly one sees the Moon, to note whether the 
attention wavers, and to repeat the Mantra until it does not waver at 

He should also practise assiduously Liber III. vel Jugorum. The 
essence of this practice is that you select a familiar thought, word 
or gesture, one which automatically recurs fairly often during the 
day, and every time you are betrayed into using it, cut yourself 
sharply upon the wrist or forearm with a convenient instrument. 

There is also a practice which I find very useful when walking 
in a christian city - that of exorcising (with the prescribed 
outward and downward sweep of the arm and the words 'Apo pantos 
kakodaimonos') any person in religious garb. 

All these practices assist concentration, and also serve to keep 
one on the alert. They form an invaluable preliminary training for 
the colossal Work of genuine concentration when it comes to be a 
question of the fine, growing constantly finer, movements of the 

1 0. We may now turn to the consideration of Yoga practices 
themselves. I assume that in the fortnight which has elapsed since 
my last lecture you have all perfected yourselves in Asana and 
Pranayama; that you daily balance a saucer brimming with sulphuric 
acid on your heads for twelve hours without accident, that you all 
jump about busily like frogs when not seriously levitated; and that 
your Mantra is as regular as the beating of your heart. 

The remaining four limbs of Yoga are Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana 
and Samadhi. 

I will give you the definition of all four at a single stroke, 
as each one to some extent explains the one following. Pratyahara 
may be roughly described as introspection, but it also means a 
certain type of psychological experience. For instance, you may 
suddenly acquire a conviction, as did Sir Humphry Davy, that the 
universe is composed exclusively of ideas; or you may have the direct 
experience that you do not possess a nose, as may happen to the best 
of us, if we concentrate upon the tip of it. 

1 1 . Dharana is meditation proper, not the kind of meditation 
which consists of profound consideration of the subject with the idea 
of clarifying it or gaining a more comprehensive grasp of it, but the 
actual restraint of the consciousness to a single imaginery object 
chosen for the purpose. 

These two limbs of Yoga are therefore in a sense the two methods 
employed mentally by the Yogi. For, long after success in Samadhi 
has been attained, one has to conduct the most extensive explorations 
into the recesses of the mind. 

1 2. The word Dhyana is difficult to define; it is used by many 
writers in quite contrary senses. The question is discussed at some 
length in Part I. of my Book IV. I will quote what I have written 
about it in conclusion -- 

'Let us try a final definition. Dhyana resembles Samadhi in 
many respects. There is a union of the ego and the non-ego, and a 
loss of the sense of time and space and causality. Duality in any 
form is abolished. The idea of time involves that of two consecutive 
things, that of space two non-coincident things, that of causality 
two connected things.' 

1 3. Samadhi, on the contrary, is in a way very easy to define. 
Etymology, aided by the persistence of the religious tradition, helps 
us here. "Sam is a prefix in Sanskrit which developed into the 
prefix 'syn' in Greek without changing the meaning - 'syn' in 
'synopsis,' 'synthesis,' 'syndrome.' It means 'together with.' 

'Adhi' has also come down through many centuries and many 
tongues. It is one of the oldest words in human language; it dates 
from the time when each sound had a definite meaning proper to it, a 
meaning suggested by the muscular movement made in producing the 
sound. Thus, the letter D originally means 'father'; so the original 
father, dead and made into a 'God,' was called Ad. This name came 
down unchanged to Egypt, as you see in the Book of the Law. The word 
'Adhi' in Sanskrit was usually translated 'Lord.' In the Syrian form 
we get it duplicated Hadad. You remember Ben Hadad, King of Syria. 
The Hebrew word for 'Lord' is Adon or Adonai. Adonai, *my* Lord, is 

constantly used in the Bible to replace the name Jehovah where that 
was too sacred to be mentioned, or for other reasons improper to 
write down. Adonai has also come to mean, through the Rosicrucian 
tradition, the Holy Guardian Angel, and thus the object of worship or 
concentration. It is the same thing; worship is worth-ship, means 
worthiness; and anything but the chosen object is necessarily an 
unworthy object. 

14. As Dhyana also represents the condition of annihilation of 
dividuality, it is a little difficult to distinguish between it and 
Samadhi. I wrote in Part I., Book IV. -- 

These Dhyanic conditions contradict those of normal thought, 
but in Samadhi they are very much more marked than in Dhyana. And 
while in the latter it seems like a simple union of two things, in 
the former it appears as if all things rush together and unite. One 
might say this, that in Dhyana there was still this quality latent, 
that the one existing was opposed to the many non-existing; in 
Samadhi the many and the one are united in a union of existence with 
non-existence. This definition is not made from reflection, but from 

1 5. But that was written in 1911, and since then I have had an 
immense harvest of experience. I am inclined to say at this moment 
that Dhyana stands to Samadhi rather as the jumping about like a 
frog, described in a previous lecture, does to Levitation. In other 
words, Dhyana is an unbalanced or an impure approximation to Samadhi. 
Subject and object unite and disappear with ecstasy mounting to 
indifference, and so forth, but there is still a presentation of some 

kind in the new genus of consciousness. In this view Dhyana would be 
rather like an explosion of gunpowder carelessly mixed; most of it 
goes off with a bang, but there is some debris of the original 

These discussions are not of very great importance in them- 
selves, because the entire series of the three states of meditation 
proper is summed up in the word Samyama; you can translate it quite 
well for yourselves, since you already know that 'sam' means 'togeth- 
er,' and that 'Yama' means 'control.' It represents the merging of 
minor individual acts of control into a single gesture, very much as 
all the separate cells, bones, veins, arteries, nerves, muscles and 
so forth, of the arm combine in unconscious unanimity to make a 
single stroke. 

16. Now the practice of Pratyahara, properly speaking, is 
introspection, and the practice of Dharana, properly speaking, is the 
restraint of the thought to a single imaginary object. The former is 

a movement of the mind, the latter a cessation of all movement. And 
you are not likely to get much success in Pratyahara until you have 
made considerable advance in Dhyana, because by introspection we mean 
the exploration of the sub-strata of the consciousness which are only 
revealed when we have progressed a certain distance, and become aware 
of conditions which are utterly foreign to normal intellectual 
conception. The first law of normal thought is *A is A*: the law of 
identity, it is called. So we can divide the universe into A and 
not-A; there is no third thing possible. 

Now, quite early in the meditation practices, the Yogi is likely 
to get as a direct experience the consciousness that these laws are 
not true in any ultimate way. He has reached a world where intel- 
lectual conceptions are no longer valid; they remain true for the 
ordinary affairs of life, but the normal laws of thought are seen to 
be no more than a mere mechanism. A code of conventions. 

The students of higher mathematics and metaphysics have often a 
certain glimmering of these facts. They are compelled to use irra- 
tional conceptions for greater convenience in conducting their 
rational investigations, for example, the square root of 2, or the 
square root of minus 1 , is not in itself capable of comprehension as 
such; it pertains to an order of thinking beyond the primitive man's 
invention of counting on his fingers. 

1 7. It will be just as well then for the student to begin with 
the practices of Dharana. If he does so he will obtain as a by- 
product some of the results of Pratyahara, and he will also acquire 
considerable insight into the methods of practising Pratyahara. It 
sounds perhaps, at first, as if Pratyahara were off the main line of 
attainment in Yoga. This is not so, because it enables one to deal 
with the new conditions which are established in the mind by realisa- 
tion of Dhyana and Samadhi. 

I can now describe the elementary practices. 

You should begin with very short periods; it is most important 
not to overstrain the apparatus which you are using; the mind must be 
trained very slowly. In my early days I was often satisfied with a 
minute or two at a time; three or four such periods twice or three 
times a day. In the earliest stages of all it is not necessary to 
have got very far with Asana, because all you can get out of the 
early practices is really a foreshadowing of the difficulties of 
doing it. 

1 8. I began by taking a simple geometrical object in one 
colour, such as a yellow square. I will quote the official instruc- 
tions in 'The Equinox'. 

'Dharana - Control of thought.' 

'1 . Constrain the mind to concentrate itself upon a single simple 
object imagined. The five tatwas are useful for this purpose; they 
are: a black oval; a blue disk; a silver crescent; a yellow square; 
a red triangle. 

'2. Proceed to combinations of single objects; e.g., a black oval 
within a yellow square, and so on. 

'3. Proceed to simple moving objects, such as a pendulum swing- 
ing; a wheel revolving, etc. Avoid living objects. 

'4. Proceed to combinations of moving objects, e.g., a piston 
rising and falling while a pendulum is swinging. The relation 
between the two movements should be varied in different experiements. 

'(Or even a system of flywheels, eccentrics and governor.) 

'5. During these practices the mind must be absolutely confined 
to the object determined on; no other thought must be allowed to 
intrude upon the consciousness. The moving systems must be regular 
and harmonious. 

'6. Note carefully the duration of the experiment, the number and 

nature of the intruding thoughts; the tendency of the object itself 
to depart from the course laid out for it, and any other phenomena 
which may present themselves. Avoid overstrain; this is very 

7. Proceed to imagine living objects; as a man, preferably some 
man known to, and respected by, you. 

'8. In the intervals of these experiments you might try to 
imagine the objects of the other senses, and to concentrate upon 
them. For example, try to imagine the taste of chocolate, the smell 
or roses, the feeling of velvet, the sound of a waterfall, or the 
ticking of a watch. 

'9. Endeavour finally to shut out all objects of any of the 
senses, and prevent all thoughts arising in your mind. When you feel 
you have attained some success in these practices, apply for examina- 
tion, and should you pass, more complex and difficult practices will 
be prescribed for you.' 

1 9. Now one of the most interesting and irritating features of 
your early experiments is: interfering thoughts. There is, first of 
all, the misbehaviour of the object which you are contemplating; it 
changes its colour and size; moves its position; gets out of shape. 
And one of the essential difficulties in practice is that it takes a 
great deal of skill and experience to become really alert to what is 
happening. You can go on day-dreaming for quite long periods before 
realising that your thoughts have wandered at all. This is why I 

insist so strongly on the practices described above as producing 
alertness and watchfulness, and you will obviously realise that it is 
quite evident that one has to be in the pink of condition and in the 
most favourable mental state in order to make any headway at all. 
But when you have had a little practice in detecting and counting the 
breaks in your concentration, you will find that they themselves are 
useful, because their character is symptomatic of your state of 

20. Breaks are classed as follows: - 

Firstly, physical sensations; these should have been overcome by 

Secondly, breaks that seem to be indicated by events immediately 
preceding the meditation: their activity becomes tremendous. Only 
by this practice does one understand how much is really observed by 
the senses without the mind becoming conscious of it. 

Thirdly, there is a class of break partaking of the nature of 
reverie or 'day-dreaming.' These are very insidious - one may go on 
for a long time without realising that one has wandered at all. 

Fourthly, we get a very high class of break, which is a sort of 
abberation of the control itself. You think, 'How well I am doing 
it!' or perhaps that it would be rather a good idea if you were on a 
desert island, or if you were in a sound-proof house, or if you were 
sitting by a waterfall. But these are only trifling variations from 
the vigilance itself. 

A fifth class of break seems to have no discoverable source in 
the mind, such might even take the form of actual hallucination, 
usually auditory. Of course, such hallucinations are infrequent, and 

are recognised for what they are. Otherwise the student had better 
see a doctor. The usual kind consists of odd sentences, or fragments 
of sentences, which are quite distinctly heard in a recognisable 
human voice, not the student's own voice, or that of anyone he knows. 
A similar phenomenon is observed by wireless operators, who call such 
messages 'atmospherics.' 

*There is a further kind of break, which is the desired result 

21 . I have already indicated how tedious these practices 
become; how great the bewilderment; how constant the disappointment. 
Long before the occurrence of Dhyana, there are quite a number of 
minor results which indicate the breaking up of intellectual limita- 
tion. You must not be disturbed if these results make you feel that 
the very foundations of your mind are being knocked from under you. 
The real lesson is that, just as you learn in Asana, the normal body 
is in itself nothing but a vehicle of pain, so is the normal itself 
insane; by its own standards it *is* insane. You have only got to 
read a quite simple and elementary work like Professor Joad's 'Guide 
to Philosophy' to find that any argument carried far enough leads to 
a contradiction in terms. There are dozens of ways of showing that 
if you begin 'A is A,' you end 'A is not A.' The mind reacts against 
this conclusion; it anaesthetises itself against the self-inflicted 
wound, and it regulates philosophy to the category of paradoxial 
tricks. But that is a cowardly and disgraceful attitude. The Yogi 
has got to face the fact that we are all raving lunatics; that sanity 
exists - if it exists at all - in a mental state free from dame's 
school rules of intellect. 

With an earnest personal appeal, therefore, to come up frankly 
to the mourners' bench and gibber, I will take my leave of you for 
this evening. 

Love is the law, love under will. 

(Part 6 of 8) 


Mr. Chairman, Your Royal Highness, Your Grace, my lords, ladies 
and gentlemen. 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

In my last lecture I led you into the quag of delusion; I 
smothered you in the mire of delusion; I brought you to thirst in the 

desert of delusion; I left you wandering in the jungle of delusion, a 
prey to all the monsters which are thoughts. It came into my mind 
that it was up to me to do something about it. 

We have constantly been discussing mysterious entities as if we 
knew something about them, and this (on examination) always turned 
out not to be the case. 

2. Knowledge itself is impossible, because if we take the 
simplest proposition of knowledge, S is P, we must attach some 
meaning to S and P, if our statement is to be intelligible. (I say 
nothing as to whether it is true!) And this involves definition. 
Now the original proposition of identity, A = A, tells us nothing at 
all, unless the second A gives us further information about the first 
A. We shall therefore say that A is BC. Instead of one unknown we 
have two unknowns; we have to define B as DE, C as FG. Now we have 
four unknowns, and very soon we have used up the alphabet. When we 
come to define Z, we have to go back and use one of the other let- 
ters, so that all our arguments are arguments in a circle. 

3. Any statement which we make is demonstrably meaningless. 
And yet we do mean something when we say that a cat has four legs. 
And we all know what we mean when we say so. We give our assent to, 
or withhold it from, the proposition on the grounds of our experi- 
ence. But that experience is not intellectual, as above demonstra- 
ted. It is a matter of immediate intuition. We cannot have any 
warrant for that intuition, but at the same time any intellectual 
argument which upsets it does not in the faintest degree shake our 

4. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that the instrument 
of mind is not intellectual, not rational. Logic is merely destruc- 
tive, a self-destructive toy. The toy, however, is in some ways also 
instructive, even though the results of its use will not bear exami- 
nation. So we make a by-law that the particular sorites which 
annihilate logic are out of bounds, and we go on reasoning within 
arbitrarily appointed limits. It is subject to these conditions that 

we may proceed to examine the nature of our fundamental ideas; and 
this is necessary, because since we began to consider the nature of 
the results of meditation, our conceptions of the backgrounds of 
thought are decided in quite a different manner; not by intellectual 
analysis, which, as we have seen, carries no conviction, but by 
illumination, which does carry conviction. Let us, therefore, 
proceed to examine the elements of our normal thinking. 

5. I need hardly recapitulate the mathematical theorem which 
you all doubtless laid to heart when you were criticising Einstein's 
theory of relatively. I only want to recall to your minds the 
simplest element of that theorem; the fact that in order to describe 
anything at all, you must have four measurements. It must be so far 
east or west, so far north or south, so far up or down, from a 
standard point, and it must be after or before a standard moment. 
There are three dimensions of space and one of time. 

6. Now what do we mean by space? Henri Poincare, one of the 
greatest mathematicians of the last generation, thought that the idea 
of space was invented by a lunatic, in a fantastic (and evidently 

senseless and aimless) endeavour to explain to himself his experience 
of his muscular movements. Long before that, Kant had told us that 
space was subjective, a necessary condition of thinking; and while 
every one must agree with this, it is obvious that it does not tell 
us much about it. 

7. Now let us look into our minds and see what idea, if any, we 
can form about space. Space is evidently a continuum. There cannot 
be any difference between any parts of it because it is wholly 
*where*. It is pure background, the area of possibilities, a condi- 
tion of quality and so of all consciousness. It is therefore in 

itself completely void. Is that right, sir? 

8. Now suppose we want to fulfil one of these possibilities. 
The simplest thing we can take is a point, and we are told that a 
point has neither parts nor magnitude, but only position. But, as 
long as there is only one point, position means nothing. No possi- 
bility has yet been created of any positive statement. We will 
therefore take two points, and from these we get the idea of a line. 
Our Euclid tells us that a line has length but no breadth. But, as 
long as there are only two points, length itself means nothing; or, 

at the most, it means separateness. All we can say about two points 
is that there are two of them. 

9. Now we take a third point, and at last we come to a more 
positive idea. In the first place, we have a plane surface, though 
that in itself still means nothing, in the same way as length means 
nothing when there are only two points there. But the introduction 
of the third point has given a meaning to our idea of length. We can 
say that the line AB is longer than the line BC, and we can also 
introduce the idea of an angle. 

10. A fourth point, provided that it is not in the original 
plane, gives us the idea of a solid body. But, as before, it tells 

us nothing about the solid body as such, because there is no other 
solid body with which to compare it. We find also that it is not 
really a solid body at all as it stands, because it is merely an 
instantaneous kind of illusion. We cannot observe, or even imagine, 
anything, unless we have time for the purpose. 

11. What, then is time? It is a phantasm, exactly as tenuous 
as space, but the possibilities of differentiation between one thing 
and another can only occur in one way instead of in three different 
ways. We compare two phenomena in time by the idea of sequence. 

1 2. Now it will be perfectly clear to all of you that this is 

all nonsense. In order to conceive the simplest possible object, we 
have to keep on inventing ideas, which even in the proud moment of 
invention are seen to be unreal. How are we to get away from the 
world of phantasmagoria to the common universe of sense? We shall 
require quite a lot more acts of imagination. We have got to endow 
our mathematical conceptions with three ideas which Hindu philoso- 
phers call Sat, Chit and Ananda, which are usually translated Being, 
Knowledge and Bliss. This really means: Sat, the tendency to 
conceive of an object as real; Chit, the tendency to pretend that it 
is an object of knowledge; and Ananda, the tendency to imagine that 
we are affected by it. 

1 3. It is only after we have endowed the object with these 
dozen imaginary properties, each of which, besides being a complete 
illusion, is an absurd, irrational, and self-contradictory notion, 

that we arrive at even the simplest object of experience. And this 
object must, of course, be constantly multiplied. Otherwise our 
experience would be confined to a single object incapable of 

14. We have also got to attribute to ourselves a sort of divine 
power over our nightmare creation, so that we can compare the differ- 
ent objects of our experience in all sorts of different manners. 
Incidentally, this last operation of multiplying the objects stands 
evidently invalid, because (after all) what we began with was absol- 
utely Nothingness. Out of this we have somehow managed to obtain, 
not merely one, but many; but, for all that, our process has followed 
the necessary operation of our intellectual machine. Since that 
machine is the only machine that we possess, our arguments must be 
valid in some sense or other conformable with the nature of this 
machine. What machine? That is a perfectly real object. It con- 
tains innumerable parts, powers and faculties. And they are as much 
a nightmare as the external universe which it has created. Gad, sir, 
Patanjali is right! 

1 5. Now how do we get over this difficulty of something coming 
from Nothing? Only by enquiring what we mean by Nothing. We shall 
find that this idea is totally inconceivable to the normal mind. For 

if Nothing is to be Nothing, it must be Nothing in every possible 
way. (Of course, each of these ways is itself an imaginary some- 
thing, and there are Aleph-Zero -- a transfinite number -- of them.) 
If, for example, we say that Nothing is a square triangle, we have 
had to invent a square triangle in order to say it. But take a more 
homely instance. We know what we mean by saying 'There are cats in 
the room.' We know what we mean when we say 'No cats are in the 
room.' But if we say '*No* cats are *not* in the room,' we evidently 
mean that *some* cats *are* in the room. This remark is not intended 
to be a reflection upon this distinguished audience. 

16. So then, if Nothing is to be really the absolute Nothing, 

we mean that Nothing does not enter into the category of existence. 
To say that absolute Nothing exists is equivalent to saying that 
everything exists which exists, and the great Hebrew sages of old 
time noted this fact by giving it the title of the supreme idea of 
reality (behind their tribal God, Jehovah, who, as we have previously 
shown, is merely the Yoga of the 4 Elements, even at his highest, -- 
the Demiourgos) Eheieh-Asher-Eheieh, - I am that I am. 

1 7. If there is any sense in any of this at all, we may expect 
to find an almost identical system of thought all over the world. 
There is nothing exclusively Hebrew about this theogony. We find, 
for example, in the teachings of Zoroaster and the neo-Platonists 
very similar ideas. We have a Pleroma, the void, a background of all 
possibilities, and this is filled by a supreme Light-God, from whom 
drive in turn the seven Archons, who correspond closely to the seven 
planetary deities, Aratron, Bethor, Phaleg and the rest. These in 
their turn constitute a Demiurge in order to crate matter; and this 

Demiurge is Jehovah. Not far different are the ideas both of the 
classical Greeks and the neo-Platonists. The differences in the 
terminology, when examined, appear as not much more than the differ- 
ences of local convenience in thinking. But all these go back to the 
still older cosmogony of the ancient Egyptians, where we have Nuit, 
Space, Hadit, the point of view; these experience congress, and so 
produce Heru-Ra-Ha, who combines the ideas of Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor- 
paar-Kraat. These are the same twin Vau and He' final which we know. 
Here is evidently the origin of the system of the Tree of Life. 

18. We have arrived at this system by purely intellectual 
examination, and it is open to criticism; but the point I wish to 
bring to your notice tonight is that it corresponds closely to one of 
the great states of mind which reflect the experience of Samadhi. 

There is a vision of peculiar character which has been of 
cardinal importance in my interior life, and to which constant 
reference is made in my Magical Diaries. So far as I know, there is 
no extant description of this vision anywhere, and I was surprised on 
looking through my records to find that I had given no clear account 
of it myself. The reason apparently is that it is so necessary a 
part of myself that I unconsciously assume it to be a matter of 
common knowledge, just as one assumes that everyone knows that one 
possesses a pair of lungs, and therefore abstains from mentioning the 
fact directly, although perhaps alluding to the matter often enough. 

It appears very essential to describe this vision as well as 
possible, considering the difficulty of langauge, and the fact that 
the phenomena involved logical contradictions, the conditions of 
consciousness being other than those obtaining normally. 

The vision developed gradually. It was repeated on so many 
occasions that I am unable to say at what period it may be called 
complete. The beginning, however, is clear enough in my memory. 

1 9. I was on a Great Magical Retirement in a cottage overlook- 
ing Lake Pasquaney in New Hampshire. I lost consciousness of every- 
thing but an universal space in which were innumerable bright points, 
and I realised that this was a physical representation of the uni- 
verse, in what I may call its essential structure. I exclaimed: 
'Nothingness, with twinkles!' I concentrated upon this vision, with 

the result that the void space which had been the principal element 
of it diminished in importance. Space appeared to be ablaze, yet the 
radiant points were not confused, and I thereupon completed my 
sentence with the exclamation: 'But *what* Twinkles!' 

20. The next stage of this vision led to an identification of 
the blazing points with the stars of the firmament, with ideas, 
souls, etc. I perceived also that each star was connected by a ray 
of light with each other star. In the world of ideas, each thought 
possessed a necessary relation with each other thought; each such 
relation is of course a thought in itself; each such ray is itself a 
star. It is here that logical difficulty first presents itself. The 

seer has a direct perception of infinite series. Logically, there- 
fore, it would appear as if the entire space must be filled up with a 
homogeneous blaze of light. This is not, however, the case. The 
space is completely full, yet the monads which fill it are perfectly 

distinct. The ordinary reader might well exclaim that such state- 
ments exhibit symptoms of mental confusion. The subject demands more 
than cursory examination. I can do no more than refer the critic to 
Bertrand Russell's 'Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy', where 
the above position is thoroughly justified, as also certain positions 
which follow. 

I want you to note in particular the astonishing final identifi- 
cation of this cosmic experience with the nervous system as described 
by the anatomist. 

21 . At this point we may well be led to consider once more what 
we call the objective universe, and what we call our subjective 
experience. What is Nature? Immanuel Kant, who founded an epoch- 
making system of subjective idealism, is perhaps the first philoso- 
pher to demonstrate clearly that space, time, causality (in short, 

all conditions of existence) are really no more than conditions of 
thought. I have tried to put it more simply by defining all possible 
predicates as so many dimensions. To describe an object properly it 
is not sufficient to determine its position in the space-time con- 
tinuum of four dimensions, but we must enquire how it stands in all 
the categories and scales, its values in all 'kinds' of possibility. 
What do we know about it in respect of its greenness, its hardness, 
its mobility, and so on? And then we find out that what we imagine 
to be the description of the object is in reality nothing of the 

22. All that we recorded is the behaviour of our instruments. 
What did our telescopes, spectroscopes, and balances tell us? And 
these again are dependent upon the behaviour of our senses; for the 
reality of our instruments, of our organs of sense, is just as much 

in need of description and demonstration as are the most remote 
phenomena. And we find ourselves forced to the conclusion that 
anything we perceive is only perceived by us as such 'because of our 
tendency so to perceive it.' And we shall find that in the fourth 
stage of the great Buddhist practice, Mahasatipatthana, we become 
directly and immediately aware of this fact instead of digging it out 
of the holts of these interminable sorites which badger us! Kant 
himself put it, after his fashion: 'The laws of nature are the laws 
of our own minds.' Why? It is not the contents of the mind itself 
that we can cognise, but only its structure. But Kant has not gone 
to this length. He would have been extremely shocked if it had ever 
struck him that the final term in his sorites was 'Reason itself is 
the only reality.' On further examination, even this ultimate truth 
turns out to be meaningless. It is like the well known circular 
definition of an obscene book, which is: one that arouses certain 
ideas in the mind of the kind of person in whom such ideas are 
excited by that kind of book. 

23. I notice that my excellent chairman is endeavouring to 
stifle a yawn and to convert it into a smile, and he will forgive me 
for saying that I find the effect somewhat sinister. But he has 
every right to be supercilious about it. These are indeed 'old, fond 
paradoxes to amuse wives in ale-houses.' Since philosophy began, it 
has always been a favourite game to prove your axioms absurd. 

You will all naturally be very annoyed with me for indulging in 
these fatuous pastimes, especially as I started out with a pledge 
that I would deal with these subjcts from the hard-headed scientific 
point of view. Forgive me if I have toyed with these shining gos- 
samers of the thought-web! I have only been trying to break it to 
you gently. I proceed to brush away with a sweep of my lily-white 
hand all this tenuous, filmy stuff, 'such stuff as dreams are made 
of.' We will get down to modern science. 

24. For general reading there is no better introduction than 
'The Bases of Modern Science', by my old and valued friend the late 
J. W. N. Sullivan. I do not want to detain you too long with quota- 
tions from this admirable book. I would much rather you got it and 
read it yourself; you could hardly make better use of your time. But 
let us spend a few moments on his remarks about the question of 

Our conceptions of space as a subjective entity has been com- 
pletely upset by the discovery that the equations of Newton based on 
Euclidean Geometry are inadequate to explain the phenomena of gravi- 
tation. It is instinctive to us to think of a straight line; it is 
somehow axiomatic. But we learn that this does not exist in the 
objective universe. We have to use another geometry, Riemann's 
Geometry, which is one of the curved geometries. (There are, of 
course, as many systems of geometry as there are absurd axioms to 
build them on. Three lines make one ellipse: any nonsense you like: 
you can proceed to construct a geometry which is correct so long as 
it is coherent. And there is nothing right or wrong about the 
result: the only question is: which is the most convenient system 
for the purpose of describing phenomena? We found the idea of 
Gravitation awkward: we went to Riemann.) 

This means that the phenomena are not taking place against a 
background of a flat surface; the surface itself is curved. What we 
have thought of as a straight line does not exist at all. And this 
is almost impossible to conceive; at least it is quite impossible for 
myself to visualise. The nearest one gets to it is by trying to 
imagine that you are a reflection on a polished door-knob. 

25. I feel almost ashamed of the world that I have to tell you 
that in the year 1900, four years before the appearance of Einstein's 
world-shaking paper, I described space as 'finite yet boundless,' 
which is exactly the description in general terms that he gave in 
more mathematical detail. (*) You will see at once that these three 
words do describe a curved geometry; a sphere, for instance, is a 
finite object, yet you can go over the surface in any direction 
without ever coming to an end. 

I said above that Riemann's Geometry was not quite sufficient to 
explain the phenomena of nature. We have to postulate different 
kinds of curvature in different parts of the continuum. And even 
then we are not happy! 

26. Now for a spot of Sullivan! 'The geometry is so general 
that it admits of different degrees of curvature in different parts 
of space-time. It is to this curvature that gravitational effects 

are due. The curvature of space-time is most prominent, therefore, 

around large masses, for here the gravitational effects are most 
marked. If we take matter as fundamental, we may say that it is the 
presence of matter that causes the curvature of space-time. But 
there is a different school of thought that regards matter as due to 
the curvature of space-time. That is, we assume as fundamental a 
space-time continuum manifest to our senses as what we call matter. 
Both points of view have strong arguments to recommend them. But, 
whether or not matter may be derived from the geometrical peculiari- 
ties of the space-time continuum, we may take it as an established 
scientific fact that gravitation has been so derived. This is 
obviously a very great achievement, but it leaves quite untouched 
another great class of phenomena, namely, electro-magnetic phenomena. 
In this space-time continuum of Einstein's the electro-magnetic 
forces appear as entirely alien. Gravitation has been absorbed, as 
it were, into Riemannian geometry, and the notion of force, so far as 
gravitational phenomena are concerned, has been abolished. But the 
electro-magnetic forces still flourish undisturbed. There is no hint 
that they are manifestations of the geometrical peculiarities of the 
space-time continuum. And it can be shown to be impossible to relate 
them to anything in Riemann's Geometry. Gravitation can be shown to 
correspond to certain geometrical peculiarities of a Riemannian 
space-time. But the electro-magnetic forces lie completely outside 
this scheme.' 

27. Here is the great quag into which mathematical physics has 
led its addicts. Here we have two classes of phenomena, all part of 
a unity of physics. Yet the equations which describe and explain the 
one class are incompatible with those of the other class! This is 
not a question of philosophy at all, but a question of fact. It does 
not do to consider that the universe is composed of particles. Such 
a hypothesis underlies one class of phenomena, but it is nonsense 
when applied to the electro-magnetic equations, which insist upon our 
abandoning the idea of particles for that of waves. 

Here is another Welsh rabbit for supper! 

'Einstein's finite universe is such that its radius is dependent 
upon the amount of matter in it. Were more matter to be created, the 
volume of the universe would increase. Were matter to be annihilat- 
ed, the volume of space would decrease. Without matter, space would 
not exist. Thus the mere existence of space, besides its metrical 
properties, depends upon the existence of matter. With this concep- 
tion it becomes possible to regard all motion, including rotation, as 
purely relative.' 

Where do we go from here, boys? 

28. 'The present tendency of physics is towards describing the 
universe in terms of mathematical relations between unimaginable 

We have got a long way from Lord Kelvin's too-often and too- 
unfairly quoted statement that he could not imagine anything of which 
he could not construct a mechanical model. The Victorians were 
really a little inclined to echo Dr. Johnson's gross imbecile stamp 
on the ground when the ideas of Bishop Berkeley penetrated to the 
superficial strata of the drink-sodden grey cells of that beef-witted 


29. Now, look you, I ask you to reflect upon the trouble we 
have taken to calculate the distance of the fixed stars, and hear 
Professor G. N. Lewis, who 'suggests that two atoms connected by a 
light ray may be regarded as in actual physical contact. The 
interval* between two ends of a light-ray is, on the theory of 
relativity, zero, and Professor Lewis suggests that this fact should 
be taken seriously. On this theory, light is not propagated at all. 
This idea is in conformity with the principle that none but observ- 
able factors should be used in constructing a scientific theory, for 
we can certainly never observe the passage of light in empty space. 
We are only aware of light when it encouters matter. Light which 
never encounters matter is purely hypothetical. If we do not make 
that hypothesis, then there is no empty space. On Professor Lewis's 
theory, when we observe a distant star, our eye as truly makes 
physical contact with that star as our finger makes contact with a 
table when we press it.' 

30. And did not all of you think that my arguments were argu- 
ments in a circle? I certainly hope you did, for I was at the 
greatest pains to tell you so. But it is not a question of argument 
in Mr. Sullivan's book; it is a question of facts. He was talking 

about human values. He was asking whether science could possibly be 
cognizant of them. Here he comes, the great commander! Cheer, my 
comrades, cheer! 

'But although consistent materialists were probably always rare, 
the humanistically important fact remained that science did not find 
it necessary to include values in its description of the universe. 
For it appeared that science, in spite of this omission, formed a 
closed system. If values form an integral part of reality, it seems 
strange that science should be able to give a consistent description 
of phenomena which ignores them. 

'At the present time, this difficulty is being met in two ways. 
On the one hand, it is pointed out that science remains within its 
own domain by the device of cyclic definition, that is to say, the 
abstractions with which it begins are all it ever talks about. It 
makes no fresh contacts with reality, and therefore never encounters 
any possibly disturbing factors. This point of view is derived from 
the theory of relativity, particularly from the form of presentation 
adopted by Eddington. This theory forms a closed circle. The 
primary terms of the theory, *point-events*, *potentials*, *matter* 
(etc. -- there are ten of them), lie at various points on the circum- 
ference of the circle. We may start at any point and go round the 
circle, that is, from any one of these terms we can deduce the 
others. The primary entities of the theory are defined in terms of 
one another. In the course of this exercise we derive the laws of 
Nature studied in physics. At a certain point in the cahin of 
deductions, at *matter*, for example, we judge that we are talking 
about something which is an objective concrete embodiment of our 
abstractions. But matter, as it occurs in physics, is no more than a 
particular set of abstractions, and our subsequent reasoning is 
concerned only with these abstractions. Such other characteristics 

as the objective reality may possess never enter our scheme. But the 
set of abstractions called matter in relativity theory do not seem to 
be adequate to the whole of our scientific knowledge of matter. 
There remain quantum phenomena.' 

'So we leave her, so we leave her, 

Far from where her swarthy kindred roam -- kindred roam 

In the Scarlet Fever, Scarlet Fever, 

Scarlet Fever Convalescent Home.' 

31 . So now, no less than that chivalrous gentleman, His Grace, 
the Most Reverend the Archbishop of Canterbury, who in a recent 
broadcast confounded for ever all those infidels who had presumed to 
doubt the possibility of devils entering into swine, we have met the 
dragon science and conquered. We have seen that, however we attack 
the problem of mind, whether from the customary spiritual standpoint, 
or from the opposite corner of materialism, the result is just the 


One last quotation from Mr. Sullivan. 'The universe may ulti- 
mately prove to be irrational. The scientific adventure may have to 
be given up.' 

But that is all *he* knows about science, bless his little 
heart! We do not give up. 'You lied, d'Ormea, I do not repent!' 
The results of experiment are still valid for experience, and the 
fact that the universe turns out on enquiry to be unintelligible only 
serves to fortify our ingrained conviction that experience itself is 

32. We may then ask ourselves whether it is not possible to 
obtain experience of a higher order, to discover and develop the 
faculty of mind which can transcend analysis, stable against all 
thought by virtue of its own self-evident assurance. In the language 
of the Great White Brotherhood (whom I am here to represent) you 
cross the abyss. 'Leave the poor old stranded wreck' ~ Ruach ~ 
'and pull for the shore' of Neschamah. For above the abyss, it is 
said, as you will see if you study the Supplement of the fifth number 
of the First Volume of 'The Equinox', an idea is only true in so far 
as it contains its contradictory in itself. 

33. It is such states of mind as this which constitute the 

really important results of Samyama, and these results are not to be 
destroyed by philosophical speculation, because they are not suscep- 
tible of analysis, because they have no component parts, because they 
exist by virtue of their very Unreason - 'certum est quia ineptum!' 
They cannot be expressed, for they are above knowledge. To some 
extent we can convey our experience to others familiar with that 
experience to a less degree by the aesthetic method. And this 
explains why all the good work on Yoga - alchemy, magick and the 
rest -- not doctrinal but symbolic -- the word of God to man, is 
given in Poetry and Art. 

In my next lecture I shall endeavour to go a little deeper into 
the technique of obtaining these results, and also give a more 
detailed account of the sort of thing that is likely to occur in the 
course of the preliminary practices. 

Love is the law, love under will. 

*TANNHAUSER, written in Mexico, O.F., August, 1900. See also my 
BERASHITH, written in Delhi, April, 1901. 

(Part 7 of 8) 


Dear Children, 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

1 . You will remember that last week our study of Yoga had led 
us to the Fathers of the Church. We saw that their philosophy and 
science, in following an independent route, had brought us to the 
famous exclamation of Tertullian: 'certum est quia ineptum!' How 
right the Church has been to deny the authority of Reason! 

2. We are almost tempted to enquire for a moment what the 
Church means by 'faith.' St. Paul tells us that faith is 'the 
substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things unseen.' I do 
not think, then, that we are to imagine this word faith to mean what 
that lecherous gross-bellied boor, Martin Luther, maintained. The 
faith of which he speaks is anything but a substance, and as for 
evidence, it is nothing but the power, as the schoolboy said, of 
believing that which we know to be untrue. To have any sensible 
meaning at all, faith must mean experience, and that view is in exact 
accord with the conclusion to which we were led in my last lecture. 
Nothing is any use to us unless it be a certainty unshakeable by 
criticism of any kind, and there is only one thing in the universe 
which complies with these conditions: the direct experience of 
spiritual truth. Here, and here only, do we find a position in which 
the great religious minds of all times and all climes coincide. It 

is necessarily above dogma, because dogma consists of a collection of 
intellectual statements, each of which, and also its contradictory, 
can easily be disputed and overthrown. 

3. You are probably aware that in the Society of Jesus the 
postulants are trained to debate on all these highly controversial 
subjects. They put up a young man to prove any startling blasphemy 
that happens to occur to them. And the more shocked the young man 
is, the better the training for his mind, and the better service will 

he give to the Society in the end; but only if his mind has been 
completely disabused of its confidence in its own rightness, or even 

in the possibility of being right. 

4. The rationalist, in his shallow fashion, always contends 
that this training is the abnegation of mental freedom. On the 
contrary, it is the only way to obtain that freedom. In the same 
Society the training in obedience is based on a similar principle. 
The priest has to do what his Superior orders him -- 'perinde ac 
cadaver.' Protestants always represent that this is the most outra- 
geous and indefensible tyranny. "The poor devil,' they say, 'is 
bludgeoned into having no will of his own.' That is pure nonsense. 
By abnegating his will through the practice of holy obedience his 

will has become enormously strong, so strong that none of his natural 
instincts, desires, or habits can intrude. He has freed his will of 
all these inhibitions. He is a perfect function of the machinery of 
the Order. In the General of the Society is concentrated the power 
of all those separate wills, just as in the human body every cell 
should be completely devoted in its particular quality to the 
concentrated will of the organism. 

5. In other words, the Society of Jesus has created a perfect 
imitation of the skeleton of the original creation, living man. It 
has complied with the divinely instituted order of things, and that 

is why we see that the body, which was never numerically important, 
has yet been one of the greatest influences in the development of 
Europe. It has not always worked perfectly, but that has not been 
the fault of the system; and, even as it is, its record has been 
extraordinary. And one of the most remarkable things about it is 
that its greatest and most important achievements have been in the 
domain of science and philosophy. It has done nothing in religion; 
or, rather, where it has meddled with religion it has only done harm. 
What a mistake! And why? For the simple reason that it was in a 
position to take no notice of religion; all these matters were 
decided for it by the Pope, or by the Councils of the Church, and the 
Society was therefore able to free itself from the perplexities of 
religion, in exactly the same way as the novice obtains complete 
freedom from his moral responsibilities by sinking his personal 
phantasies in the will of the Superior. 

6. I should like to mention here that the Spiritual Exercises 

of St. Ignatius are in their essence really admirable Yoga practices. 
They have, it is true, a tinge of magical technique, and they have 
been devised to serve a dogmatic end. That was, however, necessary, 
and it was good magic too, at that, because the original will of the 
Founder was to produce a war engine as a counterblast to the Reforma- 
tion. He was very wise to devise a plan, irrespective of its ab- 
stract merits as philosophy, which would most efficiently serve that 
single purpose. The only trouble has been that this purpose was not 
sufficiently cosmic in scope to resist internal forces. Having 
attained the higher planes by practice of these exercises, they found 
that the original purpose of the Society was not really adequate to 
their powers; they were, so to speak, over-engined. They stupidly 
invaded the spiritual sphere of the other authorities whom they were 
founded to support, and thus we see them actually quarrelling with 
the Pope, while failing signally to obtain possession of the Papacy. 

Being thus thwarted in their endeavours, and confused in their 
purpose, they redoubled the ardour of their exercises; and it is one 
of the characteristics of all spiritual exercises, if honestly and 
efficiently performed, that they constantly lead you on to higher 
planes, where all dogmatic considerations, all intellectual concepts, 
are invalid. Hence, we found that it is not altogether surprising 
that the General of the Order and his immediate circle have been 
supposed to be atheists. If that were true, it would only show that 
they have been corrupted by their preoccupation with the practical 
politics of the world, which it is impossible to conduct on any but 
an atheistic basis; it is brainless hypocrisy to pretend otherwise, 
and should be restricted to the exclusive use of the Foreign Office. 

It would, perhaps, be more sensible to suppose that the heads of 
the Order have really attained the greatest heights of spiritual 
knowledge and freedom, and it is quite possible that the best term to 
describe their attitude would be either Pantheistic or Gnostic. 

7. These considerations should be of the greatest use to us now 
that we come to discuss in more detail the results of the Yoga 
practices. There is, it is true, a general similarity between the 
ecstatic outbursts of the great mystics all over the world. Compari- 
sons have often been drawn by students of the subject. I will only 
detain you with one example: 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole 
of the Law.' What is this injunction? It is a generalisation of St. 
Augustine's 'Love, and do what thou wilt.' But in 'The Book of the 
Law', lest the hearer should be deluded into a spasm of antinomi- 
anism, there is a further explanation: 'Love is the law, love under 

8. However, the point is that it is no use discussing the 

results of Yoga, whether that Yoga be the type recommended by Lao- 
Tze, or Patanjali, or St. Ignatius Loyola, because for our first 
postulate we have: that these subjects are incapable of discussion. 
To argue about them only causes us to fall into the pit of Because, 
and there to perish with the dogs of Reason. The only use, there- 
fore, of describing our experiences is to enable students to get some 
sort of idea of the sort of thing that is going to happen to them 
when they attain success in the practices of Yoga. We have David 
saying in the Psalms: 'I hate thoughts, but Thy law do I love.' We 
have St. Paul saying: 'The carnal mind is enmity against God.' One 
might almost say that the essence of St. Paul's Epistles is a strug- 
gle against mind: 'We war not against flesh and blood' -- you know 
the rest -- I can't be bothered to quote it all - Eph. vi. 12. 

9. It is St. Paul, I think, who describes Satan, which is his 
name for the enemy, owing to his ignorance of the history of the 
world, as the Prince of the Power of the Air; that is, of the Ruach, 
of the intellect; and we must never forget that what operated the 
conversion of St. Paul was the Vision on the road to Damascus. It is 
particularly significant that he disappeared into the Desert of 
Arabia for three years before coming forward as the Apostle to the 
Gentiles. St. Paul was a learned Rabbi; he was the favourite pupil 

of the best expositor of the Hebrew Law, and in the single moment of 
his Vision all his arguments were shattered at a single stroke! 

1 0. We are not told that St. Paul said anything at the time, 
but went quietly on his journey. That is the great lesson: not to 
discuss the results. Those of you who possess a copy of 'The Equinox 
of the Gods' may have been very much surprised at the extraordinary 
injunction in the Comment: the prohibition of all discussion of the 
Book. I myself did not fully understand that injunction; I do so 


11. Let us now deal with a few of the phenomena which occur 
during the practices of Pratyahara. 

Very early during my retirement in Kandy, I had been trying to 
concentrate by slanting my eyes towards the tip of my nose. This, by 
the way, is not a good practice; one is liable to strain the eyes. 
But what happened was that I woke up in the night; my hand touched a 
nose; I immediately concluded that some one was in the room. Not at 
all; I only thought so because my nose had passed away from the 
region of my observation by the practice of concentrating upon it. 

1 2. The same sort of thing occurs with adequate concentration 

on any object. It is connected, curiously enough, with the phenomena 
of invisibility. When your mind has gone so deeply into itself that 
it is unconscious of itself and its surroundings, one of the most 
ordinary results is that the body becomes invisible to other people. 
I do not think that it would make any difference for a photograph, 
though I have no evidence for saying this; but it has happened to me 
on innumerable occasions. It was an almost daily occurrence when I 
was in Sicily. 

1 3. A party of us used to go down to a very beautiful bay of 
sand, whence jutted fantastically-shaped islets of rock; it is rimmed 
by cliffs encrusted with jewels of marine life. The way was over a 
bare hillside; except for a few hundred yards of vineyard there was 
no cover -- nay, not for a rabbit. But it often happened that one of 
the party would turn to speak to me, and fail to see me. I have 
often known this to happen when I was dictating; my chair was 
apparently empty. 

Incidentally, this faculty, which I think is exercised, as a 
rule, unconsciously, may become an actual magical power. 

14. It happened to me on one occasion that a very large number 
of excited people were looking for me with no friendly intentions; 
but I had a feeling of lightness, of ghostliness, as if I were a 
shadow moving soundlessly about the street; and in actual fact none 
of the people who were looking for me gave the slightest indication 
that they were aware of my presence. 

There is a curious parallel to this incident in one of the 
Gospels where we read that 'they picked up stones to stone him, but 
he, passing through the midst of them, went his way.' 

15. There is another side to this business of Pratyahara, one 
that may be described as completely contradictory against what we 
have been talking about. 

If you concentrate your attention upon one portion of the body 
with the idea of investigating it, that is, I suppose, allowing the 
mind to move within very small limits, the whole of your conscious- 
ness becomes concentrated in that small part. I used to practise 

this a good deal in my retirement by Lake Pasquaney. I would usually 
take a finger or a toe, and identify my whole consciousness with the 
small movements which I allowed it to make. It would be futile to go 
into much detail about this experience. I can only say that until 
you acquire the power you have no idea of the sheer wonder and 
delight of that endlessly quivering orgasm. 

16. If I remember rightly, this practice and its result were 
one of the principal factors which enabled me afterwards to attain 
what is called the Trance of Wonder, which pertains to the Grade of a 
Master of the Temple, and is a sort of complete understanding of the 
organism of the universe, and an ecstatic adoration of its marvel. 

This Trance is very much higher than the Beatific Vision, for 
always in the latter it is the heart -- the Phren -- which is in- 
volved; in the former it is the Nous, the divine intelligence of man, 
whereas the heart is only the centre of the intellectual and moral 

1 7. But, so long as you are occupying yourself with the physi- 
cal, your results will only be on that plane; and the principal 
effect of these concentrations on small parts of the body is the 
understanding, or rather the appreciation, of sensuous pleasure. 
This, however, is infinitely refined, exquisitely intense. It is 

often possible to acquire a technique by which the skilled artist can 
produce this pleasure in another person. Map out, say, three square 
inches of skin anywhere, and it is possible by extreme gentle touches 
to excite in the patient all the possible sensations of pleasure of 
which that person is capable. I know that this is a very extraordi- 
nary claim, but it is a very easy one to substantiate. The only 
thing I am afraid of is that experts may be carried away by the 
rewards, instead of getting the real value of the lesson, which is 
that the gross pleasures of the senses are absolutely worthless. 
This practice, so far as it is useful to all, should be regarded 
as the first step towards emancipation from the thrall of the bodily 
desires, of the sensations self-destructive, of the thirst for 

1 8. I think this is a good opportunity to make a little digres- 
sion in favour of Mahasatipatthana. This practice was recommended by 
the Buddha in very special terms, and it is the only one of which he 
speaks so highly. He told his disciples that if they only stuck to 

it, sooner or later they would reach full attainment. The practice 
consists of an analysis of the universe in terms of consciousness. 
You begin by taking some very simple and regular bodily exercise, 
such as the movement of the body in walking, or the movements of the 
lungs in breathing. You keep on noting what happens: 'I am breath- 
ing out; I am breathing in; I am holding my breath,' as the case may 
be. Quite without warning, one is appalled by the shock of the 
discovery that what you have been thinking is not true. You have no 
right to say: 'I am breathing in.' All that you really know is that 
there is a breathing in. 

19. You therefore change your note, and you say: 'There is a 
breathing in; there is a breathing out,' and so on. And very soon, 
if you practise assiduously, you get another shock. You have no 

right to say that there is a breathing. All you know is that there 
is a sensation of that kind. Again you change your conception of 
your observation, and one day make the discovery that the sensation 
has disappeared. All you know is that there is perception of a 
sensation of breathing in or breathing out. Continue, and that is 
once more discovered to be an illusion. What you find is that there 
is a tendency to perceive a sensation of the natural phenomena. 

20. The former stages are easy to assimilate intellectually; 
one assents to them immediately that one discovers them, but with 
regard to the 'tendency,' this is not the case, at least it was not 

so for my own part. It took me a long while before I understood what 
was meant by 'tendency.' To help you to realise this I should like 
to find a good illustration. For instance, a clock does nothing at 
all but offer indications of the time. It is so constructed that 
this is all we can know about it. We can argue about whether the 
time is correct, and that means nothing at all, unless, for example, 
we know whether the clock is controlled electrically from an astro- 
nomical station where the astronomer happens to be sane, and in what 
part of the world the clock is, and so on. 

21 . I remember once when I was in Teng-Yueh, just inside the 
Chinese frontier in Yunnan. The hour of noon was always telegraphed 
to the Consulate from Pekin. This was a splendid idea, because 
electricity is practically instantaneous. The unfortunate thing was, 

if it *was* unfortunate, which I doubt, that the messages had to be 
relayed at a place called Yung Chang. The operators there had the 
good sense to smoke opium most of the time, so occasionally a batch 
of telegrams would arrive, a dozen or so in a bunch, stating that it 
was noon at Pekin on various dates! So all the gross phenomena, all 
these sensations and perceptions, are illusion. All that one could 
really say was that there was a tendency on the part of some lunatic 
in Pekin to tell the people at Teng-Yueh what o'clock it was. 

22. But even this Fourth Skandha is not final. With practice, 

it also appears as an illusion, and one remains with nothing but the 
bare consciousness of the existence of such a tendency. 

I cannot tell you very much about this, because I have not 
worked it out very thoroughly myself, but I very much doubt whether 
'consciousness' has any meaning at all, as a translation of the word 
Vinnanam. I think that a better translation would be 'experience,' 
used in the sense in which we have been using it hitherto, as the 
direct reality behind and beyond all remark. 

23. I hope you will appreciate how difficult it is to give a 
reasoned description, however tentative, of these phenomena, still 
less to classify them properly. They have a curious trick of running 
one into the other. This, I believe, is one of the reasons why it 
has been impossible to find any really satisfactory literature about 
Yoga at all. The more advanced one's progress, the less one knows, 
and the more one understands. The effect is simply additional 
evidence of what I have been saying all this time: that it is very 

little use discussing things; what is needed is continuous devotion 
to the practice. 

Love is the law, love under will. 

(Part 8 of 8) 


Salutation to the Sons of the Morning! 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. 

1 . I should like to begin this evening by recapitulating very 
briefly what has been said in the previous three lectures, and this 
would be easier if I had not completely forgotten everything I said. 
But there is a sort of faint glimmering to the effect that the 
general subject of the series was the mental exercises of the Yogi; 
and the really remarkable feature was that I found it impossible to 
discuss them at all thoroughly without touching upon, first of all, 
ontology; secondly, ordinary science; and thirdly, the high Magick of 
the true initiates of the light. 

2. We found that both Ontology and Science, approaching the 
question of reality from entirely different standpoints, and pursuing 
their researches by entirely different methods, had yet arrived at an 
identical 'impasse.' And the general conclusion was that there could 
be no reality in any intellectual concept of any kind, that the only 
reality must lie in direct experience of such a kind that it is 
beyond the scope of the critical apparatus of our minds. It cannot 
be subject to the laws of Reason; it cannot be found in the fetters 

of elementary mathematics; only transfinite and irrational concep- 
tions in that subject can possibly shadow forth the truth in some 
such paradox as the identity of contradictories. We found further 
that those states of mind which result from the practice of Yoga are 
properly called trances, because they actually transcend the 
conditions of normal thought. 

3. At this point we begin to see an almost insensible drawing 
together of the path of Yoga which is straight (and in a sense arid) 
with that of Magick, which may be compared with the Bacchic dance or 
the orgies of Pan. It suggests that Yoga is ultimately a sublimation 

of philosophy, even as Magick is a sublimation of science. The way 
is open for a reconciliation between these lower elements of thought 
by virtue of their tendency to flower into these higher states beyond 
thought, in which the two have become one. And that, of course, is 
Magick; and that, of course, is Yoga. 

4. We may now consider whether, in view of the final identifi- 
cation of these two elements in their highest, there may not be 
something more practical than sympathy in their lower elements ~ I 
mean mutual assistance. 

I am glad to think that the Path of the Wise has become much 
smoother and shorter than it was when I first trod it; for this very 
reason that the old antinomies of Magick and Yoga have been 
completely resolved. 

You all know what Yoga is. Yoga means union. And you all know 
how to do it by shutting off the din of the intellectual boiler 
factory, and allowing the silence of starlight to reach the ear. It 
is the emancipation of the exalted from the thrall of the commonplace 
expression of Nature. 

5. Now what is Magick? Magick is the science and art of 
causing change to occur in conformity with the Will. How do we 
achieve this? By exalting the will to the point where it is master 
of circumstance. And how do we do this? By so ordering every 
thought, word and act, in such a way that the attention is constantly 
recalled to the chosen object. 

6. Suppose I want to evoke the 'Intelligence' of Jupiter. I 

base my work upon the correspondences of Jupiter. I base my mathema- 
tics on the number 4 and its subservient numbers 16, 34, 136. I 
employ the square or rhombus. For my sacred animal I choose the 
eagle, or some other sacred to Jupiter. For my perfume, saffron -- 
for my libation some preparation of opium or a generous yet sweet and 
powerful wine such as port. For my magical weapon I take the scep- 
tre; in fact, I continue choosing instruments for every act in such a 
way that I am constantly reminded of my will to evoke Jupiter. I 
even constrain *every* object. I extract the Jupiterian elements 
from all the complex phenomena which surround me. If I look at my 
carpet, the blues and purples are the colours which stand out as 
Light against an obsolescent and indeterminate background. And thus 
I carry on my daily life, using every moment of time in constant 
self-admonition to attend to Jupiter. The mind quickly responds to 
this training; it very soon automatically rejects as unreal anything 
which is not Jupiter. Everything else escapes notice. And when the 
time comes for the ceremony of invocation which I have been consis- 
tently preparing with all devotion and assiduity, I am quickly 
inflamed. I am attuned to Jupiter, I am pervaded by Jupiter, I am 
absorbed by Jupiter, I am caught up into the heaven of Jupiter and 
wield his thunderbolts. Hebe and Ganymedes bring me wine; the Queen 
of the Gods is throned at my side, and for my playmates are the 
fairest maidens of the earth. 

7. Now what is all this but to do in a partial (and if I may 

say so, romantic) way what the Yogi does in his more scientifically 
complete yet more austerely difficult methods? And here the advan- 
tage of Magick is that the process of initiation is spontaneous and, 
so to speak, automatic. You may begin in the most modest way with 
the evocation of some simple elemental spirit; but in the course of 
the operation you are compelled, in order to attain success, to deal 
with higher entities. Your ambition grows, like every other organ- 
ism, by what it feeds on. You are very soon led to the Great Work 
itself; you are led to aspire to the Knowledge and Conversation of 
the Holy Guardian Angel, and this ambition in turn arouses automati- 
cally further difficulties the conquest of which confers new powers. 

In the Book of the Thirty Aethyrs, commonly called The Vision and 
the Voice', it becomes progressively difficult to penetrate each 
Aethyr. In fact, the penetration was only attained by the initia- 
tions which were conferred by the Angel of each Aethyr in its turn. 
There was this further identification with Yoga practices recorded in 
this book. At times the concentration necessary to dwell in the 
Aethyr became so intense that definitely Samadhic results were 
obtained. We see then that the exaltation of the mind by means of 
magical practices leads (as one may say, in spite of itself) to the 
same results as occur in straightforward Yoga. 

I think I ought to tell you a little more about these visions. 
The method of obtaining them was to take a large topaz beautifully 
engraved with the Rose and Cross of forty-nine petals, and this topaz 
was set in a wooden cross of oak painted red. I called this the 
shew-stone in memory of Dr. Dee's famous shew-stone. I took this in 
my hand and proceeded to recite in the Enochian or Angelic language 
the Call of the Thirty Aethyrs, using in each case the special name 
appropriate to the Aethyr. Now all this went very well until about 
the 17th, I think it was, and then the Angel, foreseeing difficulty 
in the higher or remoter Aethyrs, gave me this instruction. I was to 
recite a chapter from the Q'uran: what the Mohammedans call the 
'Chapter of the Unity.' 'Qol: Hua Allahu achad; Allahu assamad: 
lam yalid walam yulad; walam yakun lahu kufwan achad.' I was to say 
this, bowing myself to the earth after each chapter, a thousand and 
one times a day, as I walked behind my camel in the Great Eastern Erg 
of the Sahara. I do not think that anyone will dispute that this was 
pretty good exercise; but my point is that it was certainly very good 

From what I have said in previous lectures you will all recog- 
nise that this practice fulfils all the conditions of the earlier 
stages of Yoga, and it is therefore not surprising that it put my 
mind in such a state that I was able to use the Call of the Thirty 
Aethyrs with much greater efficacy than before. 

8. Am I then supposed to be saying that Yoga is merely the 
hand-maiden of Magick, or that Magick has no higher function than to 
supplement Yoga? By no means, it is the co-operation of lovers; 
which is here a symbol of the fact. The practices of Yoga are almost 
essential to success in Magick - at least I may say from my own 
experience that it made all the difference in the world to my magical 
success, when I had been thoroughly grounded in the hard drill of 
Yoga. But - I feel absolutely certain that I should never have 
obtained success in Yoga in so short a time as I did had I not spent 
the previous three years in the daily practice of magical methods. 

9. I may go so far as to say that just before I began Yoga 
seriously, I had almost invented a Yogic method of practising Magick 
in the stress of circumstances. I had been accustomed to work with 
full magical apparatus in an admirably devised temple of my own. Now 
I found myself on shipboard, or in some obscure bedroom of Mexico 
City, or camped beside my horse among the sugar canes in lonely 
tropical valleys, or couched with my rucksack for all pillow on bare 
volcanic heights. I had to replace my magical apparatus. I would 

take the table by my bed, or stones roughly piled, for my altar. My 
candle or my Alpine Lantern was my light. My ice-axe for the wand, 
my drinking flask for the chalice, my machete for the sword, and a 
chapati or a sachet of salt for the pantacle of art! Habit soon 
familiarised these rough and ready succedanea. But I suspect that it 
may have been the isolation and the physical hardship itself that 
helped, that more and more my magical operation became implicit in my 
own body and mind, when a few months later I found myself performing 
*in full* operations involving the Formula of the Neophyte (for which 
see my treatise 'Magick') without any external apparatus at all. 

10. A pox on all these formalistic Aryan sages! Unless one 
wants to be very pedantic, it is rather absurd to contend that this 
form of ritual forced upon me, first by external and next by internal 
circumstances, was anything else but a new form of Asana, Pranayama, 
Mantra- Yoga, and Pratyahara in something very near perfection; and it 
is therefore not surprising that the Magical exaltation resulting 

from such ceremonies was in all essential respects the equivalent of 

On the other hand, the Yoga training was an admirable aid to 
that final concentration of the Will which operates the magical 

1 1 . This then is reality: direct experience. How does it 

differ from the commonplace every-day experience of sensory impres- 
sions which are so readily shaken by the first breath of the wind of 
intellectual analysis? 

Well, to answer first of all in a common-sense way, the differ- 
ence is simply that the impression is deeper, is less to be shaken. 
Men of sense and education are always ready to admit that they may 
have been mistaken in the quality of their observation of any pheno- 
menon, and men a little more advanced are almost certain to attain to 
a placid kind of speculation as to whether the objects of sense are 
not mere shadows on a screen. 

I take off my glasses. Now I cannot read my manuscript. I had 
two sets of lenses, one natural, one artificial. If I had been 
looking through a telescope of the old pattern I should have had 
three sets of lenses, two artificial. If I go and put on somebody 
else's glasses I shall get another kind of blur. As the lenses of my 
eyes change in the course of my life, what my sight tells me is 
different. The point is that we are quite unable to judge what is 
the truth of the vision. Why then do I put on my glasses to read? 
Only because the particular type of illusion produced by wearing them 
is one which enables me to interpret a pre-arranged system of hiero- 
glyphics in a particular sense which I happen to imagine I want. It 
tells me nothing whatever about the object of my vision - what I 
call the paper and the ink. Which is the dream? The clear legible 
type or the indecipherable blur? 

1 2. But in any case any man who is sane at all does make a 
distinction between the experience of daily life and the experience 
of dream. It is true that sometimes dreams are so vivid, and their 
character so persistently uniform that men are actully deceived into 
believing that places they have seen in dreams repeatedly are places 

that they have known in a waking life. But they are quite capable of 
criticising this illusion by memory, and they admit the deception. 
Well, in the same way the phenomena of high Magick and Samadhi have 
an authenticity, and confer an interior certainty, which is to the 
experience of waking life as that is to a dream. 

But, apart from all this, experience is experience; and the real 
guarantee that we have of the attainment of reality is its rank in 
the hierarchy of the mind. 

1 3. Let us ask ourselves for a moment what is the characteris- 
tic of dream impressions as judged by the waking mind. Some dreams 
are so powerful tht they convince us, even when awake, of their 
reality. Why then do we criticise and dismiss them? Because their 
contents are incoherent, because the order of nature to which they 
belong does not properly conform with the kind of experience which 
does hang together -- after a fashion. Why do we criticise the 

reality of waking experience? On precisely similar grounds. Because 
in certain respects it fails to conform with our deep instinctive 
consciousness of the structure of the mind. *Tendency!* We *happen* 
to be that kind of animal. 

1 4. The result is that we accept waking experience for what it 
is within certain limits. At least we do so to this extent, that we 
base our action upon the belief that, even if it is not philoso- 
phically real, it is real enough to base a course of action upon it. 

What is the ultimate prctical test of conviction? Just this, 
that it is our standard of conduct. I put on these glasses in order 
to read. I am quite certain that the blurred surface will become 
clear when I do so. Of course, I may be wrong. I may have picked up 
some other body's glasses by mistake. I might go blind before I 
could get them into position. Even such confidence has limits; but 
it is a real confidence, and this is the explanation of why we go 
ahead with the business of life. When we think it over, we know that 
there are all sorts of snags, that it is impossible to formulate any 
proposition which is philosophically unassailable, or even one which 
is so from a practical standpoint. We admit to ourselves that there 
are all sorts of snags; but we take our chance of that, and go ahead 
in the general principles inculcated by our experience of nature. It 
is, of course, quite easy to prove that experience is impossible. To 
begin with, our consciousness of any phenomenon is never the thing 
itself, but only a hieroglyphic symbol of it. 

Our position is rather that of a man with a temperamental motor- 
car; he has a vague theory that it ought to go, on general princi- 
ples; but he is not quite sure how it will perform in any given 
circumstances. Now the experience of Magick and Yoga is quite above 
all this. The possibility of criticising the other types of experi- 
ence is based upon the possibility of expressing our impressions in 
adequate terms; and this is not at all the case with the results of 
Magick and Yoga. As we have already seen, every attempt at expres- 
sion in ordinary language is futile. Where the hero of the adventure 
is tied up with a religious theory, we get the vapid and unctuous 
bilgewater of people like St. John of the Cross. All Christian 
Mystics are tarred with the same brush. Their abominable religion 

compels them to every kind of sentimentality; and the theory of 
original sin vitiates their whole position, because instead of the 
noble and inspiring Trance of Sorrow they have nothing but the 
miserable, cowardly, and selfish sense of guilt to urge them to 
undertake the Work. 

1 5. I think we may dismiss altogether from our minds every 
claim to experience made by any Christian of whatever breed of 
spiritual virus as a mere morbid reflection, the apish imitation of 
the true ecstasies and trances. All expressions of the real thing 
must partake of the character of that thing, and therefore only that 
language is permissible which is itself released from the canon of 
ordinary speech, exactly as the trance is unfettered by the laws of 
ordinary consciousness. In other words, the only proper translation 
is in poetry, art and music. 

1 6. If you examine the highest poetry in the light of common 
sense, you can only say that it is rubbish; and in actual fact you 
cannot so examine it at all, because there is something in poetry 
which is not in the words themselves, which is not in the images 
suggested by the words 'O windy star blown sideways up the sky!' 
True poetry is itself a magic spell which is a key to the ineffable. 
With music this thesis is so obvious as hardly to need stating. 
Music has no expressed intellectual content whatever, and the sole 
test of music is its power to exalt the soul. It is then evident 
that the composer is himself attempting to express in sensible form 
some such sublimities as are attained by those who practise Magick 
and Yoga as they should. 

17. The same is true of plastic art, but evidently in much less 
degree; and all those who really know and love art are well aware 
that classical painting and sculpture are rarely capable of producing 
these transcendent orgasms of ecstasy, as in the case of the higher 
arts. One is bound to the impressions of the eye; one is drawn back 
to the contemplation of a static object. And this fact has been so 
well understood in modern times by painters that they have endea- 
voured to create an art within an art; and this is the true explana- 
tion of such movements as 'surrealisme.' I want to impress upon you 
that the artist is in truth a very much superior being to the Yogi or 
the Magician. He can reply as St. Paul replied to the centurion who 
boasted of his Roman citizenship 'With a great sum obtained I this 
freedom'; and Paul, fingering the Old School Tie, sneered: "But I 
was free born.' 

1 8. It is not for us here to enquire as to how it should happen 
that certain human beings possess from birth this right of intimacy 
with the highest reality, but Blavatsky was of this same opinion that 
the natural gift marks the acquisition of the rank in the spiritual 
hierarchy to which the student of Magick and Yoga aspires. He is, so 
to speak, an artist in the making; and it is perhaps not likely that 

his gifts will have become sufficiently automatic in his present 
incarntion to produce the fruits of his attainment. Yet, undoubted- 
ly, there have been such cases, and that within my own experience. 

1 9. I could quote you the case of a man - a very inferior and 
wishy-washy poet ~ who undertook for a time very strenuously the 

prescribed magical practices. He was very fortunate, and attained 
admirable results. No sooner had he done so that his poetry itself 
became flooded with supernal light and energy. He produced master- 
pieces. And then he gave up his Magick because the task of further 
progress appalled him. The result was that his poetry fell 
completely away to the standard of wet blotting paper. 

20. Let me tell you also of one man almost illiterate, a 
Lancashire man who had worked in a mill from the age of nine years. 
He had studied for years with the Toshophists with no results. Then 
he corresponded with me for some time; he had still no results. He 
came to stay with me in Sicily. One day as we went down to bathe we 
stood for a moment on the brink of the cliff which led down to the 
little rocky cove with its beach of marvellous smooth sand. 

I said something quite casually -- 1 have never been able to 
remember what it was -- nor could he ever remember -- but he suddenly 
dashed down the steep little path like a mountain goat, threw off his 
cloak and plunged into the sea. When he came back, his very body had 
become luminous. I saw that he needed to be alone for a week to 
complete his experience, so I fixed him up in an Alpine tent in a 
quiet dell under broad-spreading trees at the edge of a stream. From 
time to time he sent me his magical record, vision after vision of 
amazing depth and splendour. I was so gratified with his attainment 
that I showed these records to a distinguished literary critic who 
was staying with me at the time. A couple of hours later, when I 
returned to the Abbey, he burst out upon me a flame of excitement. 
'Do you know what this is?' he cried. I answered casually that it 
was a lot of very good visions. 'Bother your visions,' he exclaimed, 
'didn't you notice the style? It's pure John Bunyan!' It was. 

21. But all this is neither here nor there. There is only one 
thing for anybody to do on a path, and that is to make sure of the 
next step. And the fact which we all have to comfort us is this: 

that all human beings have capacities for attainment, each according 
to his or her present position. 

For instance, with regard to the power of vision on the astral 
plane, I have been privileged to train many hundreds of people in the 
course of my life, and only about a dozen of them were incapable of 
success. In one case this was because the man had already got beyond 
all such preliminary exercise; his mind immediately took on the 
formless condition which transcends all images, all thought. Other 
failures were stupid people who were incapable of making an experi- 
ment of any sort. They were a mass of intellectual pride and preju- 
dice, and I sent them away with an injunction to go to Jane Austen. 
But the ordinary man and woman get on very well, and by this I do not 
mean only the educated. It is, in fact, notorious that, among many 
of the primitive races of mankind, strange powers of all kinds 
develop with amazing florescence. 

22. The question for each one of us is then: first of all, to 
acertain our present positions; secondly, to determine our proper 
directions; and, thirdly, to govern ourselves accordingly. 

The question for me is also to describe a method of procedure 
which will be sufficiently elastic to be useful to every human being. 

I have tried to do this by combining the two paths of Magick and 
Yoga. If we perform the preliminary practices, each according to his 
capacity, the result will surely be the acquisition of a certain 
technique. And this will become much easier as we advance, especial- 
ly if we bear it well in mind not to attempt to discriminate between 
the two methods as if they were opposing schools, but to use the one 
to help out the other in an emergency. 

23. Of course, nobody understands better than I do that, 
although nobody can do your work for you, it is possible to make use 
-- to a certain very limited extent -- of other people's experience, 
and the Great Order which I have the honour to serve has appointed 
what I think you will agree is a very satisfactory and practical 

24. You are expected to spend three months at least on the 
study of some of the classics on the subject. The chief object of 
this is not to instruct you, but to familiarise you with the ground 
work, and in particular to prevent you getting the idea that there is 
any right or wrong in matters of opinion. You pass an examination 
intended to make sure that your mind is well grounded in this matter, 
and you become a Probationer. Your reading will have given you some 
indication as to the sort of thing you are likely to be good at, and 

you select such practices as seem to you to promise well. You go 
ahead with these, and keep a careful record of what you do, and what 
results occur. After eleven months you submit a record to your 
superior; it is his duty to put you right where you have gone wrong, 
and particularly to encourage you where you think you have failed. 

25. I say this because one of the most frequent troubles is 
that people who are doing excellent work throw it up because they 
find that Nature is not what they thought it was going to be. But 
this is the best test of the reality of any experience. All those 
which conform with your idea, which flatter you, are likely to be 
illusions. So you become a Neophyte; and attack the Task of a 

There are further grades in this system, but the general prin- 
ciples are always the same - the principles of scientific study and 

26. We end where we began. 'The wheel has come full circle.' 
We are to use the experience of the past to determine the experience 
of the future, and as that experience increases in quantity it also 
improves in quality. And the Path is sure. And the End is sure. 

For the End is the Path. 

Love is the law, love under will.